A striking Numsa member linked to violent attacks on Transnet employees spent a night behind bars, while Transnet extended the grace period for scores of colleagues wanting to abandon the Numsa-organised strike.
Eastern Cape police have arrested and charged a member of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) connected with the spate of bombings, arson and thuggery targeted at Transnet employees who chose not to join the union’s industrial action. The arrest is the culmination of an ongoing investigation led by the police’s tactical response team and the Motherwell SAPS, with assistance from Transnet’s own specialised security personnel. The Numsa member, a striking employee at the Ngqura Container Terminal, is currently in police custody, and is cooperating fully with the investigators. As a result, police are confident that they are close to rounding up all the perpetrators of recent violent acts against Transnet employees.
Numsa, which represents less than half a percent of Transnet’s over 60 000 employees, called its members at the Ngqura Container Terminal in the Eastern Cape to strike in April 2014. Now in its seventh week, the strike has had minimal impact on Transnet operations. The strike has been characterised by violence, resulting in at least 35 coordinated acts of intimidation and violence against those not on strike. The acts have included bomb attacks, arson, and intimidation, including burning of cars. As a result,Transnet committed its highly specialised security teams as it heightened security measures around its employees, their families and property.
The labour court has ordered Numsa to stop the violence.
Meanwhile, Transnet on Thursday decided to extend the hugely successful suspension of the lockout on striking employees for a further 24 hours as colleagues previously on strike flocked to the terminal volunteering to abandon Numsa. The decision, taken on Tuesday, followed pleas from a significant number of the just over 100 colleagues on strike for the company to allow them to abandon the industrial action.The suspension of the lockout was originally limited to the 24 hours starting Wednesday at 06h00, until Thursday 06h00. Transnet recognises that the strike has had a devastating impact on our colleagues’families, especially their finances and as a result is taking every opportunity to facilitate their return to work and earning a living.
The lockout means that striking Numsa members can only return once Numsa withdraws its demands. In addition, the company exercised its right to apply the no work, no pay principle since the strike began. Once again, we wish to commend our colleagues who havebeen working tirelessly to ensure minimal disruptions to our operations despite the violent disruptions by Numsa. The colleagues have been highly supportive of the company’s efforts to end the strike and reintegrate, where possible, those who wish to return.
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