Johannesburg - The United National Transport Union (Untu) said on Monday that it will be consulting its members about the latest and "absolute final" wage offer tabled by South African freight and logistics group, Transnet.

Untu has been demanding a 12% salary increase and increases in medical subsidy and housing allowance while Transnet's revised wage offer is a proposed 6.5% increase for 2018, 7.25% for 2019 and 7.5% for 2020.

The union is also demanding an additional two percent wage increase for employees who earn less than R100,000 per annum and that there be no retrenchments for the next three years.

Transnet has tabled an "absolute final offer" in which housing allowance is to be increased with 4.5% each year for the next three years. Medical aid allowance will increase with 5.5% for 2018, six percent for 2019, and 6.5% for 2020.

Transnet general manager, Tumelo Mokwena said that the company took serious note of organised labour's concerns about the lack of increases in the housing allowance and medical aid subsidy. 

Despite this, Mokwena said Transnet remained firm that the company is faced with a very difficult financial situation after it was downgraded by rating agencies to junk status.

"We cannot move any more. This is Transnet's absolute final offer," Mokwena said.

Transnet's absolute final offer is a multi-term agreement over the next three years and an undertaking that there will be no forced retrenchments of Untu members during this period.

Untu general secretary Steve Harris said that union members must realise that they will have to accept this offer or embark on a nationwide indefinite strike to try and enforce their wage demand.

"Transnet is at the bottom of its barrel. All our members therefore have an obligation to make sure that they participate in the mandating process that Untu branches across the country are about to embark on," Harris said.

"The Union will not accept individual mandates from members, but only those submitted according to the process our Constitution allows for."

Harris said that Untu will now embark on a mandate process with its membership and inform Transnet at the next wage negotiations on 1 February at the  Bargaining Council if the union's members accept or decline the offer.

African News Agency/ANA