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Transport strike in fifth day

Cape Town harbour “’
one of the ports
affected by the
nationwide transport
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 14 May 2010 – The transport strike that has crippled national rail and port operations in South Africa has entered its fifth day, cutting exports of metals, wine and fruit to Europe and Asia, with talks between labour and management scheduled for some time today.

State-owned ports, rail and pipeline operator Transnet Limited will meet union representatives here this afternoon, according to Chris de Vos, secretary general of the United Transport & Allied Trade Union (Utatu). The independent Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration will mediate the talks, he said. Workers are demanding a 15% wage rise, while Transnet is offering a maximum of 11%.

“Today the strike continues,” de Vos said in an interview with Bloomberg News. “We will work through the weekend to see what we can achieve. It’s in everyone’s interest that this is resolved as soon as possible.”

Africa’s largest economy may lose “billions of rand” if the strike isn’t resolved soon, says Johan Botha, an economist at Johannesburg-based Standard Bank Group Limited.

Ferrochrome producers Xstrata Plc, Samancor Limited and Ruukki Group have declared force majeure on shipments of the steel- making ingredient, while Anglo American Plc’s Kumba Iron Ore Limited said it had been “quite severely” affected.

Force majeure is a legal clause that allows producers to miss contracted deliveries because of circumstances beyond their control.