Workers from South Africa’s Transport and Allied Workers Union have rejected a compromise pay deal aimed at ending a days-long dispute that threatens to curb the nation’s exports, Johannesburg-based News24 reported.
The deal was suggested by the Commission of Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration as a middle ground between an offer made by Transnet and demands from labour unions.
Workers have refused to accept it, pressing on with a demand for a pay increase above inflation, saying anything less would be detrimental to their livelihoods, News24 reported, citing Jack Mazibuko, general secretary of the union that’s also known as Satawu.
United National Transport Union members put down their tools on Oct. 6, and workers belonging to Satawu joined them on Oct. 10.
The strike has severely reduced staff at key ports that export iron ore and coal from South Africa mines and placed shipments of agricultural goods at risk.
The labour action is another blow to an economy that contracted in the second quarter after rolling blackouts were intensified, and flooding in the country’s east disrupted operations at harbours including the port of Durban, sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest container hub.
Union officials have said employees are open to proposed pay increases of at least 7%, while Transnet has offered a maximum of 5.3%. Calls from Bloomberg to the Satawu offices were not immediately answered Sunday.