Numsa strikers were not behind the petrol bombing of three homes at Transnet’s Ngquru Container Terminal in the Eastern Cape, the trade union said on Wednesday.
“They [Transnet] cannot attribute any acts of violence to us,” the National Union of Metalworkers of SA’s regional secretary Phumzile Nodongwe said.
He was responding to a statement by Transnet’s general manager for Eastern Cape terminals Siyabulela Mhlaluka that three homes of non-striking workers were stoned and petrol bombed on Tuesday night.
“This takes the total number of attacks and violent acts to 16 since Numsa launched its strike action last Friday,” said Mhlaluka.
As “general lawlessness continued”, Transnet’s offer of a R100,000 reward for information that would lead to the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators still stood.
Nodongwe said Numsa members continued to strike peacefully and therefore someone else had to be responsible for the violence over the last few days.
“A lot of people take advantage of the situation.”
Mhlaluka said about 80 percent of the workforce was affiliated to other unions and these workers continued with their duties.
A total of 124 employees out of 500 at the terminal belonged to Numsa. The union did not have official recognition at the parastatal.
The strike is related to disputes over transport allowances, working hours for particular tasks, and the use of labour brokers.
Nodongwe said the strikers were willing to talk to the employers at any stage.
On Tuesday, Transnet said the working hours under dispute, while recently implemented at Ngquru, were standard at other Transnet sites.
The terminal is about 20km north-east of Port Elizabeth. – Sapa