Unions eager to finish trucker strike

Three trade unions have agreed to adjust their pay demand in an attempt to end a protracted strike by thousands of truck drivers.

This was confirmed yesterday by the Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) and the National Council of Trade Unions (Nactu), which represent the three unions.

The fire brigade tries to extinguish the truck that was allegedly set alight by Satawu members at Refinery Road in Germiston yesterday.Photo: Motshwari Mofokeng. Credit: Motshwari Mofokeng

“All the unions agreed that we have to conclude the wage negotiations now,” said Fedusa general secretary Dennis George. “We agreed to take the initiative and table a freshly mandated demand to the employers and we reached agreement on several points as put forward in the draft agreement by the employers last Wednesday.”

Two Fedusa affiliates involved in the strike are the Motor Transport Workers’ Union and the Professional Transport and Allied Workers’ Union. The Transport and Allied Workers’ Union is affiliated to Nactu.

They are not linked to the largest of the striking unions, the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu), which is an affiliate of Cosatu.

The unions said they were prepared to settle for a 10 percent increase in the first year and an 8 percent increase in the second.

Road Freight Employers’ Association spokeswoman Magretia Brown-Engelbrecht said the employers had tabled two offers. These were a three-year deal with increases of 10 percent, 8 percent and 9 percent over three years, or a two-year deal with 9 percent in the first year and 8 percent in the second.

Meanwhile, Fruit South Africa has made an urgent plea to Satawu not to involve workers at ports and railways in the strike.

It said reliable transport services for perishable products were vitally important for the fruit industry.

The fruit industry is highly competitive and exports the bulk of its produce earning foreign exchange for the country of at least R12 billion a year.