- Members of the United National Transport Union started to strike at Transnet on Thursday.
- Transnet maintains the strike is illegal.
- The South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union said its members would commence with its strike on Monday.
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Members of a union at Transnet went on strike on Thursday, but the rail utility insisted that the industrial action was illegal.
Despite Transnet raising its wage hike offer to unions (from 1.5% to 3%) on Wednesday, the United National Transport Union (UNTU) served Transnet with a notice of its intention to embark on a strike from Thursday.
The South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) also served a notice on Transnet, and planned to strike on Monday.
Transnet spokesperson Ayanda Shezi told News24 Business the UNTU strike was illegal and unprotected as the union had not followed the relevant prescripts in terms of the Labour Relations Act when it applied for the strike.
“We are assessing the impact on operations, and our priority is to ensure the safety of our assets and those employees who have reported for duty. A strike is not in anybody’s interest – not the workers, the company, or the economy,” said Shezi.
Transnet appealed to employees to accept the revised wage offer, which it said was “made in good faith”.
“In the event of mass industrial action, contingency plans will be implemented, and the company will do all in its power to ensure the safety of personnel and facilities. Staff have also been informed that the principle of no work, no pay shall be enforced,” read a Transnet statement.
UNTU’s general secretary Cobus van Vuuren said the union rejected the entity’s offer and its members were downing tools in a “protected” strike.
According to the strike notice, which News24 Business has seen, the strike begins on Thursday and will take place across all operating divisions.
In a statement on Thursday, Satawu said it had served a strike notice on the company, and its members would start striking on Monday.
“We have sent the Transnet Bargaining Council picketing rules. We are open to engaging Transnet on the same rules. All Transnet employees are not essential workers and are allowed by the law to embark on a protected strike,” said Satawu secretary-general Jack Mazibuko.