Cleaners hold protest outside Durban Transnet offices

Business Live reports that outsourced Transnet cleaners engaged in an unprotected strike in Durban over unpaid wages on Thursday. Workers under Masihloniphaneni Trading — a company outsourced by Transnet to provide cleaning services — staged a stay-away on Ely Road in Bayhead, Durban. Justice Duma, one of the protesting workers, said they had not been paid their May salaries more than a week after their supposed payday, which they said was a regular occurrence. Duma said Masihloniphaneni got the Transnet cleaning tender in April, replacing a service provider called Hlabane Trading. He said the Transnet made sure the new service provider retained the workers. A Transnet official from management who met the workers assured them the problem was not with Masihloniphaneni. He put them on a call with a senior official who confirmed that Transnet had not paid the service provider for the two months. He said the company would release the funds to the service provider on Thursday, but it may not immediately reflect because they used different banks.

Despite the cleaners not being aligned to any union, leaders from the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) engaged them on their grievances and promised to find a solution together with Transnet and the service provider. Satawu’s national co-ordinator with Transnet, Jason Kunene, said they had asked a manager from Transnet Property to set a meeting with the affected parties within 24 hours to explain what happened and discuss a way forward. Workers agreed to go back to work for the time being.

by Lwazi Hlangu

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