The United National Transport Union (Untu) and the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) submitted a consolidated wage demand to Transnet Monday. The transport unions have asked for a three-year multi-term agreement which includes a 12% salary increase, an increased contribution to employees’ medical aid and housing allowances as well as no forced retrenchments during this period. “This is a very realistic demand given the current struggling economic climate South Africans are finding themselves in, with prices on all goods soaring daily,” said Untu general secretary, Steve Harris. Harris stated that their demands were also justifiable as Transnet had recently announced an increase in revenue of 13.8%. Untu and Satawu have insisted that their demands be implemented from April 1, 2018, and that the agreement be signed before the end of the year to ensure that employees don’t have to wait for back pay.

According to a statement released by Untu, Transnet has said that it will consider the demand by weighing it against settlement patterns over the past two years, cost of living and the sustainability of the wage demand. Transnet spokesperson, Molatwane Likhete, confirmed to FTW Online that it had begun wage negotiations with both unions but refused to comment further as the state entity was looking to “reach a negotiated settlement within the bargaining arena rather than in the press”. Untu media and liaison officer, Sonja Carstens, noted that negotiations between the unions and Transnet would continue on November 27.

Western Cape secures over R2bn in global export agreements in Q2

Trade and investment agency for the Western Cape, Wesgro, helped secure R2 140 100 000 for the province in the second quarter (Q2) of the 2017/18 financial year, flowing from 13 global export business agreements. Expected to accrue over the next five years, the agreements were a welcome boost for the provincial economy, said Wesgro CEO Tim Harris. “I am very proud of the performance of our trade team in the second quarter. Generating over R2 billion in export agreements is a great achievement in such challenging economic times and shows that the Cape economy remains strong. There is every reason to be confident.”

He said the agreements were obtained through nine outward selling missions, in which 89 Western Cape companies participated, and five inward buying missions. The team visited Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, United Kingdom and Japan during this period and several of the outward selling trips aimed to advance the exports of Halal products in line with Wesgro’s export mandate to facilitate exports of goods and services into the market from qualified companies based in the Western Cape.

Technology and AI the future of cold storage

Technology and artificial intelligence are the future of cold storage in South Africa. “Refrigerated warehousing comes with very high running costs which makes it critically important to automate as many of the labour-intensive practices in the country today,” says Dieter Veening, general manager of Table Bay Cold Storage. While this will have a major impact on labour and headcount, Veening says improving distribution through improved warehousing practices is the way of the future. Because of the high cost of cold storage, it’s crucial to reduce overheads and manage running costs – critical factors for survival, especially in the current economic environment.

Opposition party accuses Treasury of hiding true costs of SAA bailout

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has accused National Treasury of attempting to hide the true costs of South African Airways’ (SAA) latest bailout. This after Treasury refused to provide the DA Standing Committee on Finance with details of interest rates charged on renewed loans for the national carrier claiming the information was “confidential”. “This response was clearly nonsensical as the Standing Committee on Finance was previously provided with a full list of all lenders to SAA together with the amounts, maturity dates and interest rates,” said DA shadow deputy minister of finance, Alf Lees.

Domestic lenders to SAA were due to be paid R5 billion on September 30, 2019, however they were convinced to roll over the loans provided certain conditions were met. Lees noted that it was suspected that one of the conditions were that interest rates charged on the renewed loans would be increased. Treasury sent another response to the DA yesterday which stated that the exact figures of the interest rates needed to be requested from SAA. However Lees said that this was an unacceptable response as they believed Treasury was obligated to provide the information required by the committee.