Satawu to intensify strike on ports

Satawu are mobilising its members on SA's ports to intensify the truckers strike.

A burning truck in Boksburg that was allegedly attacked by striking truck drivers who are on a wage strike on 4 October, 2012. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) on Monday said it was mobilising workers in the rail and port industry this week as it puts pressure on employers.

The workers are demanding a 12 percent increase, while their employers are not budging on their eight percent offer.

The two week strike has been marred by violence with non-striking drivers being intimidated and their vehicles torched and stoned.

The Road Freight Employers Association (RFEA) has sought an interdict against the violence which compels Satawu to condemn the unrest.

The union's Vincent Masoga said, "We will mobilise our members in the maritime and ports sector and we are looking forward to a total shutdown of the movement of goods."

RFEA's Phenwell Lunga said because of the losses that employers have incurred during the strike it will be difficult for them to give the workers what they want.

"Employers are making even bigger losses and to expect we are going to be settling in the higher double digits is going to be impossible in this stage of the strike."

Meanwhile, authorities will be on high alert for any flare ups of violence and vandalism as the truckers strike enters its third week.

Authorities said a total of 33 trucks were set alight and 22 people injured since the strike began over two weeks ago.

Ekurhuleni metro police's Kobeli Mokheseng said special task teams have been deployed to monitor highways and hotspots.

"Together with the South African Police Service, we will be on high visibility and monitor all the hotspots."

Meanwhile, the Satawu has maintained that criminals were behind the attacks and not its members.

The union said opportunists have hijacked the industrial action to further their criminal intentions.