Satawu sends delegation to investigate violence by striking truckers
THE South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) sent a delegation to Ekurhuleni on Thursday to investigate problems being caused by striking truck drivers.
"We are investigating the situation and we are sending a delegation to see what is happening there," Satawu spokesman Vincent Masoga said.
Ekurhuleni metro police spokesman Insp Kobeli Mokheseng said three people were injured on Thursday morning in protests by striking truck drivers, east of Johannesburg.
"There were calls coming in that a light delivery vehicle was burned, and truckers stoned two trucks on the R21 to Pretoria," he said.
The R21 north to Pretoria, opposite OR Tambo International Airport, was closed to traffic.
"The R24 is affected going east and, if you are on the R21 going towards Pretoria, it is affected up to Griffiths Road offramp," Insp Mokheseng said. "We are diverting traffic from the East Rand Mall heading to Pretoria and ... directing it on to the Griffiths Road offramp."
Traffic on the R24 was being redirected from Barbara Road.
"No arrests have been made. Police are dealing with the situation as it is happening," Insp Mokheseng said.
On Wednesday, two vehicles were set alight by strikers in the Western Cape.
Congress of South African Trade Unions spokesman Patrick Craven said on Thursday that he wanted workers to refrain from violence.
"The federation therefore joins Satawu in appealing to the workers on strike to avoid any resort to violence, even when provoked, and to implement Cosatu’s longstanding policy of protesting in a peaceful, lawful and disciplined manner," he said.
Labour analyst Tony Healy said strikes needed to be controlled better. "Unions need to marshal their members more carefully," he said.
About 20,000 workers in the road freight transport sector have been on strike over wages since Monday.
There were reports on Tuesday that striking truck drivers in Johannesburg and Durban threw stones at passing trucks, burnt some trucks and assaulted nonstriking truck drivers.
Unions have reverted to a 12% pay increase demand after rejecting a lower offer tabled by employers on Tuesday.
The Road Freight Employers’ Association had proposed a staggered increase of 8.5%, effective from March, and a further 0.5% from September next year.
Its spokeswoman, Magretia Brown-Engelbrecht, said the situation had not changed since Wednesday.
"We have committed ourselves to being available for further talks. Nothing has been forthcoming thus far and we shall see where we go," she said.
"We are hopeful that between today [Thursday] and tomorrow [Friday] we can get the process going again."
With Sapa and Alistair Anderson
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