Miners’ losses mount as ports strike drags on in South Africa

17th October 2022 By: Bloomberg

Miners’ losses mount as ports strike drags on in South Africa

A strike at South Africa’s port and rail operator Transnet that’s cost bulk mineral exporters as much as R9.8-billion continued for a twelfth day, with the company and labour unions struggling agree on wage increases.

The walkout by workers that began October 6 cost shippers of iron-ore, coal, chrome, ferrochrome and manganese about R815-million a day because they’re unable to rail and load the exports onto ships, according to the Minerals Council South Africa.

“There is limited export from harbors” and rail movements are severely constrained, Allan Seccombe, a spokesperson for the lobby group, said Monday in a response to questions.

Negotiations to reach a pay deal have been unsuccessful, even after the government and an arbitration body joined the discussions between Transnet and its biggest labor unions. The virtual shutdown of South Africa’s monopolistic logistics company has taken a broad toll on not only mining and agricultural exports, but service businesses and others involved in supply chains.

“Parties are still engaging,” Transnet spokesperson Ayanda Shezi said in a reply to questions.

“Members are still on strike,” Amanda Tshemese, a spokesperson for the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union, said by phone.