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RFEA to ask court to end trucker strike

The RFEA says it will continue to fight for an interdict to end industrial action by truck drivers.

A truck that was burnt during the Satawu strike on 27 September 2012. Picture: Vincent van der Walt/iWitness

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - The Road Freight Employers' Association (RFEA) on Sunday said it would continue to fight for an interdict to end industrial action by truck drivers, if wage negotiations continue to fail.

On Friday, the Johannesburg Labour Court granted the employers an interdict to prohibit violence by striking workers.

Truck drivers went on strike a week ago, demanding a 12 percent wage increase for the next two years.

Employers are offering 8 percent.

The nationwide strike has been dogged by violence, with reports of intimidation and vandalism by drivers.

In a bid to end the violence, the RFEA wants the labour court to grant an immediate suspension or complete interdict halting the strike.

While the application was meant to be heard on Monday, the RFEA said it needed more time to prepare for court proceedings.

RFEA spokesperson Magrieta Brown-Engelbrecht said, "We are going to request for a postponement to argue it later in the week."

But the South African Transport and Allied workers Union (Satawu) on Sunday said it would fight for the rights of its members to strike.

It said union leaders spent the weekend consulting with its lawyers.

The transport union added that it had been given permission to gather in the Johannesburg CBD, and said it would march the National Bargaining Council for the Road Freight and Logistics Industry tomorrow.

WAGE TALKS ADJOURNED UNTIL WEDNESDAY

Talks to end the truck drivers strike are scheduled to continue on Wednesday.

The RFEA will return to its membership, after a round of talks with trade unions ended late on Sunday evening.

Satawu spokesperson Vincent Masoga said the union decided to approach wage talks differently, with both sides slipping into smaller negotiating teams to find common ground.

"It came down to a game of numbers and ultimately those numbers mustn't be trusted, hence the employers are going back to the board and they'll have to come back to us by Wednesday.

"The talk's adjourned on Sunday evening - where employers asked for an opportunity to go and consult with their board.

"Meanwhile, we will brief everyone in the provinces as well as the organisers," said Masoga.