Force Majeure declared in South African strike action

Yachts and ships moored at berths across durban harbour

Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) has formally declared Force Majeure as strike action rolls on through South Africa.

Clause 11 of the Transnet Port Terminals Standard Terms and Conditions defines an “Event of Force Majeure” to mean an event beyond the control of TPT and the customer.

In a customer update on 10 October, Maersk wrote that operations waterside and landside at TPT terminals have been negatively affected.

At Durban Container Terminals, operations were impacted and appointment slots suspended.

Similar limited performance was experienced in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth terminals.

Inland, Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) rail services have been interrupted, exacerbated by cable theft and inland terminal City Deep, Johannesburg has also been impacted by strike action.

Transnet wrote that it will meet with unions on 10 October in the auspices of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to continue negotiations.

Since tabling its initial payment offer in July, Transnet has improved its offer a further four times.

For levels G and H, Transnet’s latest offer is increases of 3 per cent in pay, 3.5 per cent increases in pay for levels I and J, and a pay increase of 4 per cent for levels K and L. Transnet has also offered an ex-gratia payment of ZAR5,000 ($252) before tax to its employees.

The unions turned down the offer, arguing it was below South Africa’s annual inflation rate, which was 7.6 per cent in August.

Last week bosses at the Port of Liverpool announced a redundancy consultation process was soon to following continued strike action at the UK port.

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