Transnet still faces turmoil

PORT PILE-UP: Striking members of Satawu marching in Durban as part of the Transnet strike. Pic. THULI DLAMINI. 24/05/2010. © Sowetan.
PORT PILE-UP: Striking members of Satawu marching in Durban as part of the Transnet strike. Pic. THULI DLAMINI. 24/05/2010. © Sowetan.

MEMBERS of the biggest trade union at Transnet ended their strike yesterday, but the stoppage which has hit ports and railways dragged on after a smaller union rejected a revised pay deal.

MEMBERS of the biggest trade union at Transnet ended their strike yesterday, but the stoppage which has hit ports and railways dragged on after a smaller union rejected a revised pay deal.

The strike, now in its third week, has curbed exports of metals, cars, fruit and wine to Europe and Asia, as well as imports of vehicle parts and fuel supplies three weeks before the World Cup starts.

"Our members have returned to work," said George Strauss, president of the United Transport and Allied Trade Union (Utatu).

The smaller union at Transnet, the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu), said its members remained behind the action.

"The strike is still on, none of our workers are back to work," said Zenzo Mahlangu, general secretary at Satawu, which represents 39percent of Transnet's 54000 workers.

Transnet said no meetings were planned with Satawu, but the rejected pay offer of 11percent was still on the table.

Economists have estimated losses in the hundreds of millions of rand, but this could rise to billions if the strike drags on - and it may take weeks to clear the backlog at ports.

Fifa said imports of equipment for the World Cup have been affected.

So far, coal exports to power plants in Europe and Asia have not been affected thanks to stocks at the ports, and fuel supplies to petrol pumps are also as yet unaffected. - Reuters

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