FILE IMAGE - Aerial views of Durban Harbour entrance / Durban Port entrance

Durban - The Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) believes they have set up necessary contingency plans to ensure minimum disruptions to port operations ahead of a massive strike planned for Thursday. 

This comes as trade union, Satawu, has issued the company with a notice of their intent to strike. 

According to Satawu’s Zanele Sabela, the union served notice of the impending strike to management at the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) on Monday.

“At issue is the salary discrepancy between black and white mariners, with white mariners drawing higher salaries than their black counterparts, even when they have less experience.”

Satawu said they had been given permission to embark on a strike tomorrow. Affected ports include Durban, Richards Bay, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Saldanha Bay, Mossel Bay and East London, effectively causing a massive backlog in sea and road freight offloading.

Striking members include tug masters, pilots who bring in the ships, and chief marine engineers who maintain ships and operate engines.

TNPA Acting Chief Executive, Nozipho Mdawe, said they have assessed the impact of the strike action and have activated contingency measures through their Business Continuity Plans. 

"We will continuously update our customers and directly engage with them on shipping matters to ensure minimum disruption to port operations. The contingency measures will ensure minimum disruption to operations. Whilst this would be a protected strike, the principle of no work no pay will apply," she said.