THE South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) on Tuesday afternoon said it was confident it could end a strike by a few thousand road freight workers by the end of the week.
Failure to end the strike could result in food and fuel shortages.
Truck and freight workers went on strike on Tuesday morning after Monday’s public holiday saw few workers receive the call to strike from Satawu.
The workers are demanding a 12% pay hike. The Road Freight Association, representing employers, has offered a revised 8.5%. But Satawu spokesperson Vincent Masoga said the impasse could be broken soon.
"Our leaders will meet with employers at 3pm today. We are trying to move quickly to find a solution. We should be able to find agreement by the end of the week," he said.
The strike came after wage negotiations broke down. Talks have been under way at the National Bargaining Council for the Road Freight and Logistics Industry since June.
Satawu recently had a union splinter away from it, the National Transport and Allied Workers Union (Natawu). Natawu leaders claimed Satawu had a divided leadership and had mismanaged union funds that could have been used to workers’ benefit.
Many industries have already wrapped up their wage talks without resorting to strike action and multiyear deals have been clinched.
Mining has been the only major industry that has seen protracted strike action in the second half of this year. Workers at platinum miners such as Impala Platinum (IMP), Lonmin (LON) and Anglo Platinum (AMS) have gone on stayaways. Gold producer Gold Fields (GFI) also faced a strike this year.
Economist Chris Hart said the truck and freight strike worried him with respect to investment sentiment towards South Africa.
"Investors will start to think that strikes are the norm in South Africa, which will turn them off the country," he said.
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