Press Statement dated 6 June 2016

The South African Transport & Allied Workers’ Union (SATAWU) calls on Teti Traffic to stop its witch-hunt against workers and for the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) to intervene.

On Thursday, Teti Traffic plans hold a mass hearing during which it intends to dismiss 105 workers who took part in a legal and protected strike in May. SATAWU affiliated members went on strike on 3 May following a deadlock in wage increase negotiations. Members had not received a pay rise since they started working for the company in 2012. Three weeks later, the strike ended when a 7% across the board increase was agreed on by both parties.

However, the company issued a notice of intention to discipline members who had participated in the strike. In addition, the company has already recruited workers to replace the 105 it plans to dismiss come Thursday.

SATAWU finds the employer’s actions malicious and vindictive, and is convinced that management negotiated in bad faith. It is clear Teti Traffic never intended to fulfil the terms of the wage agreement as the increase (backdated to January 2016) and 13th cheque were set to be paid at the end of June.

We call on SANRAL to intervene and stop this witch-hunt dead in its tracks. Given that South Africa’s unemployment rate is edging ever closer to 27%, it goes without saying that we cannot afford to lose the jobs we have currently. Dismissing 105 workers will have a devastating impact not only on the workers but also on the nuclear and extended families they support.

Moreover, by recruiting new staff before the mass hearing is held, Teti Traffic is prejudging the outcome of the matter prompting doubts about the legitimacy of the process.

We urge SANRAL to alert its contractor that workers are entitled to exercise their rights by taking part in industrial action and that the company’s intended action is tantamount to limiting those rights. Teti is not the first company whose workers have downed tools and it certainly will not be the last.

Therefore we strongly urge the employer to stop intimidating workers and focus on providing the services for which it was contracted.

Issued by Zanele Sabela, Media Officer, SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu)