Motorists using Gauteng freeways will be faced with traffic gridlocks from Tuesday as the South African Road Agency Limited (Sanral) contract workers are taking their grievances on salary increment to the national roads.
On Friday,the transport union, South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) served the service provider, Teti Traffic which managed all traffic incidents on behalf of Sanral, – with a strike notice for next week Tuesday.
Satawu’s spokesperson Zanele Sabela said workers would only stop the strike if the employer agreed to meet their demands including; the establishment of a provident fund for workers and a 13th cheque wage increment to close the gap as workers have not received a pay rise since Teti was awarded the contract four years ago.
While Teti sent a statement to the media saying it was offering workers 7% increase to workers, Satawu said the offer was news to them.
“The information we have from our negotiations with the employer is that Teti is offering a zero percent increase. So we are very surprised to find out that they have informed media that they are offering 7%.”
Teti said Satawu was demanding up to 130% salary increases.
The union demanded that the general workers’ salaries to be increased from R4 325 to R6 000, basic life support staff to move from R4 680 to R9 000, traffic safety officers wage to be increased from R6 000 to R7 000, traffic management centre general staff to move from R6 600 to R12 000, senior operators from R13 000 to R16 000 and technicians from R4 325 to R13 000.
However, Teti rubbished the union’s demands saying they were unreasonable and unaffordable.
The wage negotiations began in October last year and were mediated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
After the negotiations yesterday at CCMA reached a deadlock, workers vowed to take it to the Freeways. Sabela said workers were well aware that the strike would affect traffic but they had no other choice as “the roads are their workplace.
“That is where they report to for work and it is only natural that they demonstrate there,”said Sabela.
Sanral distanced itself to the clashes saying contract workers’ salaries were handled by the service provider.