Monday, October 8, 2012

Rail Freight Strike Next as Road Haulage Truck Workers Unrest Spreads in South Africa

Transnet Warns of Stoppage as Force Majeure hits Energy Sector
Shipping News Feature

SOUTH AFRICA – The widespread unrest in South Africa continues to grow following over fifty deaths in the past two weeks during disputes which have hit several industrial sectors. The transport union SATAWU has given notice to rail freight operator Transnet of a one day strike on an indeterminate day in a week or so to support the road haulage truck workers strike we reported on recently.

This is only the latest in a series of disputes which it appears union leaders are keen to promote at a time the country’s leadership is at its weakest. The ruling African National Congress (ANC) is a long term union cohort and with internal elections due it seems none of the politicians elect are keen to criticise the latest stoppages.

The freight sector is being slowly strangled by the series of disputes with shortages, particularly fuel which has caused Shell to declare force majeure as it cannot honour contractual commitments for it deliveries. The disruption started when mine workers who produce the gold and platinum which largely supports the economy started the wave of wildcat strikes which led in turn to the violence with police killing armed protestors. These disputes continue following the reported sacking of 12,000 striking miners by Anglo American Platinum last Friday.