Truck strike violence continues

Ekurhuleni metro police’s inspector Mveli Nhlapo said a trucking crew was attacked along Nile Road in Olifantsfontein on Tuesday.

He said people had stoned the truck and beaten those inside. One of them, a 55-year-old man was taken to the Tembisa Hospital, he said.

Two trucks were burned in Olifantsfontein and another near Tembisa.

Workers from the South African Transport and Allied Trade Workers Union (Satawu) since Sudnay have been striking over wages and other benefits.

Workers represented by four unions are demanding a 20% wage increase across this year and next year. The Road Freight Employers association is offering 7,5% across the board for this year and 7,5% next year. The four unions are the Transport and Allied Workers Union of SA, the Professional Transport Workers Union (PTWU), the Satawu, and the Motor Transport Workers Union.

Regarding the violence, Labour analyst Tony Healy told Business Day Online that Satawu had a history of violent behaviour and of exercising a “total disregard for the law”.

“We should not be at all surprised at Satawu’s disinterest in ensuring that strikers behave appropriately,” he said.

Mr Healy said in 2007, the Labour Court admonished Satawu for their members having been involved in a protracted strike which engendered horrific incidents of violence and vandalism, resulting in several people being injured and murdered, and property being destroyed.

Mr Healy said this led to the labour court holding Satawu to have been in contempt of court for not having taken the necessary steps to communicate an interim order to its members to refrain from acts of violence and intimidation.

He said the Labour Court also admonished Satawu for having replied “they were neither in a position to bring an end to the violence, nor to ensure or frustrate compliance” with the Labour Court order.

The Court held ordered that Satawu should pay R500 000.00 for being in contempt of court, suspended for five years.

In 2009 Satawu was ordered by the Labour Court to compensate a bus company for damages during an unprotected strike by its members.

The court said: “Satawu made no attempt whatsoever to comply with the provisions of the Labour Relations Act”.

The PTWU’s general secretary Reckson Baloyi told Sapa he was not aware of the incidents and added that members were told to refrain from intimidating non-striking workers.

“We don’t believe that people will be harassing other people,” he said.

The three other unions could not immediately be reached for comment.

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