What every person using road freight should know

Whilst this strike affects our Industry in a very negative way, there is no doubt that our patience and understanding is called for at this time … herewith the last communique for today from the RFA 

2013 ROAD FREIGHT INDUSTRY NEGOTIATIONS –

WHAT EVERY PERSON USING ROAD FREIGHT SHOULD KNOW…

In the interest of avoiding any confusion we wish to recap the complete process that led to the current deadlock which resulted in the strike in the Road Freight Industry.

All meetings have been facilitated by a Senior CCMA Commissioner. The Unions and the RFEA embarked on wage negotiations in June this year. All sessions have been facilitated by a Senior CCMA Commissioner/s.

The unions’ opening demand was 15% per annum. In June there were two sessions totalling four days.  This was followed by another 3-day session in July, which resulted in the unions declaring a dispute on 16th July since there was no settlement.

A disputes phase was then entered into in August, during which month we had two sessions over a total of five days. By 22nd August the facilitator, issued a certificate of non-resolution after the wage dispute remained unresolved with the unions at the time demanding 11% for the first year and 9% for the second year.

This was followed by another meeting on the 31st August when the union reduced their demand to a 9% across the board increase for both years.

The unions issued a notice on 7th September, advising employers of their intention to commence with strike action on 24th September. After having received this notice, parties engaged in a further three sessions over a total of six days. The unions maintained their demand for a 9% wage increase.

On 22nd September parties adjourned having reached an in-principle agreement on a 9% wage increase, payment of which would have been staggered at 8.5% and an additional 0.5% in the same year. The RFEA made this offer with the sole purpose of avoiding the strike. At the time the unions were aware that this offer would no longer be available in the event that a strike continued. The unions undertook to strongly recommend this in-principle agreement to their members.

Parties met for a final time on 25th September with employers having been led to believe that the in-principle agreement would be signed. It was thus after a total of 18 days of engagement that a final deadlock was reached because the unions reneged on said in-principle agreement and increased their demand to 12%.

As it stands the across the board increase is the ONLY outstanding issue, as every other matter has been agreed.

It was with utter shock and dismay that the RFEA received the latest position of the unions yesterday afternoon (25th September). We view the unions’ conduct in extreme bad faith.

As a result, we now face prolonged strike action and accompanying financial losses and as such the RFEA had no choice but to revert to a lower offer of 8%. The RFEA remains committed to resolve the dispute as soon as possible. We will advise members once further meetings have been scheduled.