JOHANNESBURG - The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) on Wednesday warned of a possible strike in the private security industry following a deadlock in wage negotiations last week. 

In a statement, Satawu media officer Zanele Sabela said that more than a month of negotiations facilitated by Commissioner Meshack Ravuku had yielded no results as employers remained steadfast on a 1.1percent wage increase offer. 

This in real terms, translated to a R0.23 an hour wage increase for a Grade C security officer. She said labour was demanding a salary adjustment of at least R7500 for a Grade C security officer, R8000 for Grade B officers and R8500 for Grade A. 

In addition, unions want the introduction of hospital cover, towards which employers would contribute 60percent to ensure workers have access to better healthcare facilities.

However, both parties need to participate in a mediation process, which is set to take place on October 1 and 2. Should the mediation process not yield an agreement, a mutual interest dispute will be referred to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration. 

If that also fails to produce a settlement, a certificate entitling workers to go on strike will be issued. A strike in the security sector creates jitters after a similar action in 2006 resulted in the death of 57 security personnel after talks turned violent.