South Africa

SAfrican police fire rubber bullets at striking truckers

Johannesburg police fired rubber bullets Monday at truck drivers who were striking for the second day, calling for a salary increase. Police said they fired bullets to disperse crowds after protesters threw stones at vehicles and forced non-striking truckers to join the strike.

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The South African Allied Transport Worker's Union SATAWU, the biggest trade union of the trucking industry, and three other unions started went on strike Sunday.

Tabudi Abner, SATAWU, Johannesburg

Tabudi Abner, a sector coordinator with SATAWU, told RFI that about 90 per cent of the union’s 30,000 members have turned out for the strike, which he said will continue indefinitely.

“The strike will continue indefinitely if there will be no settlement reached by the parties,” he said.

Strikers are demanding a 20 per cent salary increase over the next two years, housing allowances and shorter working hours.

“We have given employers the liberty to decide the first year how much they want to give, and the second year they have to make it 20 per cent,” he said, adding that the benefits need to apply to every employee.

The trucking industry's Road Freight Association has offered a 7.5 per cent raise this year and 7.5 per cent next year.

Unions are due to meet employers tomorrow.

The South African Petroleum Retailers Association said the strike is affecting fuel delivery at some service stations, especially in Mpumalanga and Kwazulu Natal provinces.

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