South Africa’s ports and freight-rail operator Transnet has agreed a wage deal with its largest labour union, ending a strike that resulted in a major delay in commodities exports and millions in losses.
“Transnet and the company’s majority union United Transport and Allied Trade Union (UNTU) reached a three-year wage agreement today,” the logistics group said in a statement late yesterday.
UNTU members, who represent close to 54% of the company’s workforce, went on strike on October 6, demanding a pay increase above 7.6%, which was South Africa’s inflation rate in August.
Transnet said it had agreed on a 6% increase for the current financial year, a 5.5% raise next year and a further 6% boost in 2024, effective from April next year.
“The company’s priority in the immediate is clearing any backlogs across the port and rail system – prioritising urgent and time-sensitive cargo, and implementing recovery plans,” Transnet said.
Meanwhile, Transnet’s second-largest labor union, the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU), which went on strike on October 10, has yet to agree to a pay deal.
South African miners have been particularly hard hit by the strike, with lobby group Minerals Council South Africa, whose members account for more than 80% of Transnet’s rail business, estimating losses of 815m rands ($45m) a day.