The United National Transport Union (Untu) says it has rejected Transnet’s latest offer of a 4% to 5% salary increase, subject to employee grade levels, during what it calls “a marathon CCMA-facilitated session”.
It notes, however, that Transnet’s offer was not tabled formally but rather a position it presented to the unions through the commissioner.
It says other elements of the company’s proposal included a 1% monthly increase of R15.97 for housing and medical allowances, a 1% increase of between R11.31 and R11.42 for night shift allowances and a 1% increase in standby and acting allowances.
The union said Transnet indicated that it would implement back-payments from 1 April 2022, which it intends to pay over the course of three consecutive months from January 2023 to March 2023.
“There were no proposals presented by the commissioner on the once-off ex-gratia amount. It appears that Transnet has withdrawn this to finance [the] revised proposal in its current form,” adds the union.
“Untu rejected the offer and expressed the need to the commissioner to explain to Transnet that Untu will not even approach its members with yet again such a ridiculous offer.”
The union says Transnet has seemingly changed the way the offer looks by allocating different percentage increases in different ways. It says the actual improvement in salaries, considering all elements including the once-off ex-gratia amount, is still very far from an inflation-related increase for its members.
Untu president Steven Leshabana tells Moneyweb he remains optimistic that a resolution will be reached soon.
“We can’t afford a very long strike because no one wins. Workers are affected, employers are affected, operations and overall service is impacted and most of all of the economy suffers as a result,” says Leshabana.
He says [workers] got a below-inflation increase with no medical aid allowance increase in 2021. “But now the increase is only 1% which is R15 and what medical bill can one settle with R15?”
Despite subsequent strike action following the acknowledgment and official signing of picketing rules on Tuesday morning, he does not see the strike continuing until Friday.
Untu says it remains committed to progressing its members’ interests and needs and that it will not agree to a salary increase presented by Transnet that has not been tabled to members for mandating purposes.
“At the same time, we remain open to [the] negotiation and facilitation process and eagerly await a salary increase offer that is aligned with the increased cost of living and economic challenges that our members are faced with every day.”
Untu and the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union, together with Transnet, are set to reconvene with the Bargaining Council on Wednesday (12 October).
Nondumiso Lehutso is a Moneyweb intern.
Listen: Seifsa COO Tafadzwa Chibanguza on the fact that SA’s economy cannot afford a Transnet strike (read transcript)