Court interdict as trucker strike talks continue
The Labour Court has granted an interdict prohibiting violence by striking freight logistics workers, as talks continued to end the strike.
The Road Freight Employment Association approached the court on Friday due to the escalation in violence and intimidation experienced since the strike began.
It asked the court to firstly have the strike declared not a strike, making it unlawful and to interdict it.
Secondly, as an alternative, declaring strike action up to Friday as an unlawful strike, and having it suspended.
Both decisions were pending as further arguments would take place on Monday, RFEA spokeswoman Magretia Brown-Engelbrecht said in a statement.
In the interim, the court ordered unions to issue public statements to the media telling members to desist from criminal conduct and record their opposition to any violence, intimidation or damage to property in support of strike action.
The court interdicted unions and their members from obstructing public roads or interfering with traffic, and obstructing entrances or exits to any workplace or related premises unless authorised by picketing rules.
It further interdicted unions from causing damage to any property including vehicles, committing any act of intimidation, violence and carrying any weapons.
Unions and members were also forbidden from intimidating or interfering with any other person who does not voluntary participate in strike action, including all non-striking employees in the industry.
The SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu) opposed the urgent application.
Spokesman Vincent Masoga said by late Friday afternoon he was not aware of the ruling but the union would be issuing a statement condemning violence.
The strike began on Monday after employers and unions failed to reach an agreement on wages. Unions reverted to a 12 percent pay demand after rejecting a lower offer tabled by employers on Tuesday.
The RFEA had proposed a staggered increase of 8.5 percent effective from March, and a further 0.5 percent from September next year.
The unions involved are Satawu, the Professional Transport and Allied Workers' Union SA, the Transport and Allied Workers' Union of SA, and the Motor Transport Workers' Union.