Ports & Ships Maritime News

Jan 27, 2006
Author: P&S





TODAY’S BULLETIN OF MARITIME NEWS

  • Transnet unions go on strike from Monday


  • DP hits back with raised offer for P&O Ports


  • Clipper race restarts







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    Transnet unions go on strike from Monday

    South African transport, including the ports and rail services, faces massive strike action involving up to 85,000 workers from Monday.

    The dispute between Transnet and the four joint unions within the government-owned company over its restructuring plans worsened today following a statement from the four – Satawu, Utatu, Sarwhu and Uasa, that they intend ‘rolling out their plans for action.’

    The statement said that from Monday (30 January) union members in KwaZulu Natal will begin a three-day strike while Free State members will go out for just the one day. KZN’s three days of strike action, involving the country’s two major ports (Durban and Richards Bay) as well as South Africa’s busiest railway lines, will culminate with a mass march in Durban on Wednesday, 1 February.

    A second block of Transnet workers will go out on strike in the Eastern Cape on 13 February, followed by the Northern Cape and Western Cape on 14 February, with members in Gauteng, North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces going out on 20 February.

    If the dispute remains unresolved by 20 February the unions, representing all grades of workers within Transnet including some managerial staff, will recommend a national strike for 6 March. Transnet’s total workforce is said to be in the region of 85,000.

    The breakdown in negotiation results from a lack of proposals for resolution from Transnet, this afternoon’s statement said.

    The unions claim that the dispute is about the process of negotiation over the restructuring of Transnet. It says that what Transnet wants to do is:

  • privatise some businesses or parts of business units such as Freightdynamics, Transnet Pension Fund Administration, Autopax and the Blue Train


  • transfer SAA, Metrorail and Shosholoza Meyl out of Transnet, but these would remain publicly owned; and


  • transfer sections of some business units to another within Transnet such as the transfer of some rail engineering workers from Spoornet to Transwerk


  • “These changes will directly affect 30 000 workers. We have never claimed that this number of jobs is at stake. What is at stake is the employment conditions of the affected workers and their future job security. Management is moving ahead with the exits and transfers before the negotiation process has finalised issues such as collective bargaining rights, pension rights, travel concessions and so on. Management has also been unwilling to enter into serious discussions around the proposed privatisations. These have been presented as management decisions, not to be amended.”

    The unions say the dispute is indicative of a general breakdown in the relationship between them and Transnet.

    According to Transnet’s John Dludlu, the subsidiaries referred to by the unions are excluded from the proposed action because they do not form part of the Transnet Bargaining Council.

    “Apart from pointing this out we cannot see what difference it is likely to make. The major employees within Transnet remain the NPA, SAPO and Spoornet whose workers will be involved with the strike. Most of the other companies have very small workforces,” he said earlier this week (see Transnet’s viewpoint in our News Bulletin for 24 January 2006).


    DP hits back with raised offer for P&O Ports

    Dubai Ports (DP World) reacted to a counteroffer on their bid for P&O Ports by raising the stakes even higher last night, with an offer of 520 pence per P&O Port share, outbidding the bid of 470p by PSA of Singapore.

    Earlier DP World opened the process by offering to buy P&O Ports for 443p a share.

    In a case of financial musical chairs P&O directors responded immediately (and why not) by recommending to shareholders that the latest offer by DP World be accepted. A shareholders’ meeting is scheduled for 13 February.

    The same directors had earlier recommended acceptance of DP World’s original offer, which was promptly withdrawn in favour of that by PSA. Shares in the 165-year old British company rose accordingly and is trading at a premium.


    Clipper race restarts

    The ten yachts taking part in this year’s Clipper Round the World race got off to a good start (mostly) from Singapore at 15.30 local time today, with Durban Clipper setting the immediate pace by being first across the starting line. Conditions were described as perfect with sunshine and a 15 knot NNE breeze helping to fill the sails.

    Unfortunately three yachts got into a bit of a jostle near the start line – Cardiff, Liverpool and Qingdao, with Liverpool and Cardiff colliding, all of which led to protests being lodged by all three yachts with the race committee.

    This leg totals 2,722 miles and by 17.00 today three yachts held joint first position – Durban Clipper, Glasgow and Jersey but with only seven miles separating them from the backmarker.

    - source http://www.clipper-ventures.co.uk


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