South African Truckers Agree to Wage Settlement, End Strike

South African truck drivers’ unions reached a wage agreement with employers to end a strike that led to fuel and food shortages in the continent’s biggest economy.

The settlement “offers stability to the road freight and logistics industry for a long time,” according to a statement today from the Board for the National Bargaining Council of the Road Freight and Logistics Industry.

Workers won an average annual pay increase of 8.7 percent for three years, the Road Freight Employers Association said.

The agreement does “come at a premium but we believe that under the circumstances and in the long-term it is the best possible,” said Magretia Brown-Engelbrecht, executive officer at the employers group. The deal is effective from March 1.

About 20,000 drivers began a strike on Sept. 24 demanding a 12 percent annual wage increase over two years. The action cut supplies to stores, and left food rotting at ports and some fuel pumps dry. Vehicles were set on fire as protests turned violent.

Labor unrest at platinum mines spread to other industries after Lonmin Plc (LMI) agreed to raises of 11 percent to 22 percent, compared with a 5 percent inflation rate in the country.

South Africa’s rand reversed a slide after the accord, up 0.5 percent at 8.6187 a dollar by 3:31 p.m. in Johannesburg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Burkhardt in Johannesburg at pburkhardt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vernon Wessels at vwessels@bloomberg.net

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