Deadlock in bid to end S.Africa truckers' strike

AFP , Wednesday 26 Sep 2012

South African union representatives claim talks to end lorry drivers' strike has reached a deadlock, as movement aims to draw in maritime and freight rail workers as well

Talks to end a strike by tens of thousands of South African lorry drivers are deadlocked, union representatives said Wednesday, as they called on rail and maritime workers to join in.

With no more talks planned, the main transport workers union said the latest round of formal talks between bosses and road freight workers on Tuesday had not been fruitful.

"We have reached a point of deadlock," the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union said, as it vowed to "consolidate and deepen the current industrial action."

The union said it would now mobilize members and try to draw in maritime and freight rail workers, further raising the spectre of a country-wide fuel and food crisis.

A strike by lorry drivers on Tuesday already prompted petrol and other suppliers to put contingency measures in place to minimise supply disruption.

The South African Petroleum Industry Association meanwhile urged citizens to stay calm.

Lorry drivers have called for a 12 percent pay increase. They derided employers' counter offer of around eight percent as "laughable."

Mediators said that while there was agreement on many issues a deal on wage increases was the stumbling block.

"The strike called by the trade unions will continue and at this stage no further discussions between parties are planned," they said.

South Africa has been rocked by a series of union strikes in recent weeks, notably in the mining industry, that have threatened to spook investors. 

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