South Africa: Transnet Strike Will Impact Economy as Major Ports Shut Down

Cape Town — Members of two of South Africa’s larger unions, the United National Transport Union (Untu) and the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) have downed tools at major ports across the country. The crippling strike could result in further industrial action as the employer and workers are no closer to agreeing on a wage settlement. The unions have rejected a revised 4% wage increase offer which Transnet says is reasonable. Untu and Satawu are demanding a double-digit wage increase of 12% and 13.5% respectively.

Meanwhile, mining and agricultural business bodies are warning of billions in losses if the strike continues to disrupt the movement of cargo and exports, on which thousands of people rely on for their livelihoods. While Transnet has maintained that its terminals at ports have not come to a standstill, logistics businesses have warned of a catastrophic economic fallout if operations at the state-owned logistics giant’s ports in Durban and Cape Town face prolonged suspension, News24 reports.

Transnet insists that its revised offer is fair and deserves serious consideration, given its operational and financial performance. Transnet says its wage bill already accounts for 66% of the company’s monthly operating costs. The latest offer would add R950-million to the current salary bill.

Untu and Satawu representatives met for talks under the guidance of the Commission of Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) on Monday October 10, 2022. Talks will resume tomorrow, October 12, 2022.

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