"Low economic growth impacts directly on the high levels of poverty, poor education, poor social security, unsafe working environments, unemployment, long strike actions, gender and wage inequality, unproductivity and absenteeism. The Union will strive to improve its services though transparency, effective leadership, guidance and face to face interaction."
"We started with wage negotiations for the next multi-term agreement that will come into effect on 1 April 2018. Our wage demand is therefore the annual wage increase of employees working for Transnet," adds Carstens.Transnet and UNTU negotiate through the Transnet Bargaining Council. On December 1, Transnet made their final wage offer, which will now be taken to the UNTU members.
"If they decline, we need to declare a dispute an a conciliation process will follow. If this process is unsuccessful, a certificate of non-resolution will be issued allowing our members to embark on a protected strike. There is still a long road ahead of us."Below is an infographic representing the requests that UNTU members have asked for, but have yet to receive.
"They also indicated they will create another 20 000 jobs over the next three years and that the company will not even be given employees voluntary severance packages, let alone forced retrenchment," reveals Carstens.On November 28, ratings agency, S&P, downgraded Transnet to junk status. Although the company is in junk status, they made the profit and provided a false sense of security to its members.
"The reality is, thanks to our members Transnet had a R37.1 billion increase in revenue and our members want to pick the fruit of their hard work," adds Carstens.UNTU General Secretary, Steve Harris has warned Transnet that if the needs aren't meet by mid-January, a national strike will prevail.
"We’ll get a mandate first and if that fails, we’ll declare the dispute in terms of legislation. We will ask the conciliator to issue a certificate of non-resolution. That will give us an opportunity to go on a legal strike."
"A strike will basically bring all our export and import to a halt," concludes Carstens.Although there are other modes of transport, such as trucks, this will not alleviate the backlog. The country's economy could fall to pieces if the wage dispute is concluded with members refusing to return to work.