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Transnet welcomes Ngqura strikers wanting to abandon Numsa-led action

Transnet temporarily lifts lockout to allow striking colleagues volunteering to abandon the Numsa-organised strike action to return to work on humanitarian grounds.


Transnet today announced that it would suspend the lockout on all striking employees at its Ngqura Container Terminal, just outside Port Elizabeth. This follows pleas from a significant number of the just over 100 colleagues on strike for the company to allow them to abandon the industrial action which is now entering its seventh week.


The company announced on Tuesday that it had decided to suspend the lockout on striking workers for a prescribed period of 24 hours only - starting Wednesday 11 June 2014 at 06h00, until Thursday 12 June 2014 at 06h00. The grace period applies to Transnet employees only. Transnet will reinstate the lockout on those who fail to return to work within the specified period.


We are aware of the devastating impact the strike has on our colleagues and their families, especially on their finances. In line with our commitment to being a caring employer and responsible citizen, management considered and agreed to the request from a group of our colleagues who wished to abandon the Numsa strike and return to work.


In line with relevant laws governing strikes, Transnet implemented a lockout. This means that striking Numsa members, and all those employees who have associated themselves, can only return to work once Numsa withdraws its demands and accepts Transnet’s lockout demands. In addition, Transnet exercised its right to apply the no-work, no-pay principle since the strike began.


We have consulted widely with colleagues who are working tirelessly to ensure minimal disruptions to our operations throughout the strike by Numsa. The majority of employees are in favour of suspending the lockout. To facilitate the reintegration of the strikers into the teams, Transnet has organised counselling sessions for both those wishing to return, as well as those who are not on strike. None of the striking employees will return without going through a counselling session.


This is essential given the violence and intimidation that characterises the Numsa strike. The Labour Court granted an interdict against NUMSA on Friday, 6 June restraining NUMSA from the ongoing violence on our colleagues who are at work. Regarding safety, Transnet has heightened security measures around its employees, their families and property.


Transnet has offered a reward of R100 000 to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and successful prosecution of the perpetrators. This offer still stands, and we urge our colleagues and members of the public to use this opportunity.Numsa, which represents less than half a percent of Transnet’s over 60 000 employees, called its members to down tools over a number of grievances - all of which were already being addressed with the recognised unions – SATAWU and UTATU SARHWU. The two represent over 80% of our colleagues in the bargaining unit.


Last week, Transnet announced that as of Monday, 1 June 2014, all employees at its terminals in the Eastern Cape are now employed directly by the company. This follows a Transnet-wide decision more than six months ago to take the bold step of doing away with labour brokers in our core operations across the company. As a result, a total of 304 cargo coordinators, drivers for articulated trucks which run inside the terminals, port workers and shuttle drivers, joined the company between May and June this year.

The SA Leader Magazine


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