SA truckers’ strike turning violent

This delivery van was attacked yesterday by striking truck drivers near Isando station on the East Rand

Ekurhuleni emergency services were on high alert on Thursday after violent protests by striking truck drivers resulted in the people being injured and vehicles damaged.

“We, together with Ekurhuleni metro police department, are on high alert for any incidents of violence during the truck drivers strike,” said spokesman William Ntladi.

He said a truck was stoned by protesters in Kempton Park on Wednesday, but no injuries were reported.

In Germiston, on the M2 and Refinery road, protesters stopped a truck with three occupants.

“The two assistants in the truck driver were hospitalised after being assaulted by the protesters, but the driver managed to escape and opened a case…[with the] police,” Ntladi said.

The truck was set alight.

About 20,000 workers in the freight transport sector are on strike over wages. Their unions have reverted to a 12 percent pay demand after rejecting a lower offer tabled by employers on Tuesday.

The Road Freight Employers’ Association (RFEA) had proposed a staggered increase of 8.5 percent effective from March, and a further 0.5 percent from September next year.

Workers embarked on a protected strike on Monday after wage negotiations deadlocked.

The four unions involved are the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu), the Professional Transport and Allied Workers’ Union SA (PTAWUSA), the Transport and Allied Workers’ Union of SA (TAWU) and the Motor Transport Workers’ Union (MTWU).

Striking truck drivers also set alight vehicles and intimidated a driver in Cape Town and Durban, police said.

A driver and his two assistants were hospitalised after being injured while trying to escape angry protesters.

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The driver collided with a car, then hit a tree.

He sustained serious head wounds. His two assistants were lightly injured.

In Cape Town, striking truck drivers set alight two trucks in Nyanga.

Investment Solutions economist Chris Hart told the New Age newspaper on Thursday that South Africa might slip into a second recession if the transport strike was protracted. – Sapa