Richards Bay “’ coal
exports not yet affected
by the strike
 
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 25 May 2010 – The national transport strike has moved into its third week with members of the biggest trade union at South African logistics group Transnet back at work, but those of the smaller union continuing their stay-away.

So far, coal exports to power plants in Europe and Asia have continued thanks to stocks at the ports, but Reuters reports that the strike has hurt global miners with operations in South Africa.

“Our members have returned to work,” said United Transport and Allied Trade Union (Utatu) president George Strauss.

Meanwhile the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) says its members remain fully behind the action.

“The strike is still on, none of our workers are back to work,” said Satawu general secretary Zenzo Mahlangu. The union said it would not budge unless Transnet raised its pay rise offer above the 11% put on the table last week. “Our members have indicated very clearly that they will not return to work until they see such a shift,” it added.

The union said it had issued notices for sympathy strikes at other port related companies which could start as of June 1 should the dispute with Transnet not be resolved by then.

Transnet said no meetings had been planned with Satawu, but the rejected pay offer was still on the table.

The company was focusing on clearing the backlog which could take a month, said spokesman Mboniso Sigonyela. “Now that we have 60% of our workers back at our operations we are focusing on our recovery plans to clear the backlogs," he explained.