A merger between rail and transport unions Utatu and Sarwhu would make it the most representative in its sectors, the Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) said on Friday.

“It is the first time in South Africa's history that trade unions with diametrically opposed racial and professional roots will bury past differences to become a united entity,” general secretary Dennis George said in a statement.

The union federation on Friday attended Utatu-Sarwhu's launch in Johannesburg, a merger of the United Transport and Allied Trade Union (Utatu) and the SA Railworkers' Union (Sarwhu).

The 22,000-strong Utatu merged with the 5000-member Sarwhu to become a new force in the rail and transport sectors, George said.

“The originally predominantly white Utatu is merging with Sarwhu which is still almost exclusively comprised of black members.”

George wished both presidents, George Strauss and GM Pholo, good luck in the merger.

“It is good to see a new rainbow-nation grouping as part of the Fedusa family.” - Sapa