Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 19 May 2010 – The strike by South African transport workers that has crippled the country’s exports may end tomorrow after labour unions present their members with a new offer from state-owned rail, ports and pipeline operator Transnet Limited.
“The strike “’ which started on May 10 “’ will continue until workers have decided on the improved package,” United Transport & Allied Trade Union (Utatu) president George Strauss said in an interview here with Bloomberg News. Unions will meet management tomorrow afternoon to report the workers’ decision.
“We have an agreement in principle that we will send to our membership,” Strauss said. “We are not very happy with the outcome of the agreement, but it’s clear we’ll not get a better agreement and not get an increase on what was offered.”
Utatu- general secretary Chris de Vos said both unions would approach their members today to get a mandate to sign the deal. “We firmly believe that this agreement will be signed tomorrow afternoon. Friday is the earliest we could get back at work," he explained.
“Transnet will meet with unions tomorrow,” company chief executive of human resources and negotiator Pradeep Maharaj confirmed. He declined to give any further details when contacted on his mobile phone in Johannesburg today.
“With over half the company’s 54 000 workers striking, container shipments were mostly halted,” Maharaj said. “Most bulk freight is still being exported,” he added.
Utatu is the biggest union at Transnet, and with the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union represents 85% of Transnet’s 54 000-strong workforce.