UPDATE 3-Striking S.Africa workers call sympathy stoppages

* Power workers call off strike due on Wednesday

* Transport strike now in third week

* South African fruit farmers lose more than $127 million

* Fuel supplies to landlocked Botswana cut by 50 percent

(Recasts with Eskom workers call off strike)

By James Macharia and Agnieszka Flak

JOHANNESBURG, May 25 (BestGrowthStock) – Striking South African
transport workers called on Tuesday for sympathy stoppages,
including at the national airline, but a strike by electricity
workers was barred by a last-minute court order.

A union representing about half the workers at power utility
Eskom [ESCJ.UL] called off a strike over pay due to start on
Wednesday at the state-owned firm after a court declared the
planned industrial action illegal. [ID:nLDE64O2FA]

The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union
(Satawu), which represents strikers in a pay dispute at the
state-owned logistics group Transnet, said it had issued notices
for sympathy actions at other transport and shipping firms.

These will start next Tuesday if the dispute with Transnet,
where a strike is now in its third week, is not resolved, it
said.

The Transnet [TRAN.UL] strike is already affecting ports and
railways, and has held up exports of metals, cars, fruit and
wine to Europe and Asia, as well as imports of vehicle parts and
fuel supplies in Africa’s biggest economy.

Satawu, with 39 percent of Transnet’s 54,000 workers, wants
its members, including employees of South African Airways
[SAA.UL], to join sympathy strikes to force Transnet to increase
its pay offer.

It also asked workers at the country’s coal export terminal
to join the action, which is legal under South African laws.

“After further consultation with members it is the intention
also to issue secondary strike notices on the Road Freight
Association, whose members are road hauliers, as well as on
aviation companies including SAA (South African Airways),”
Satawu said in a statement issued late on Monday.

Soccer’s World Cup starts on June 11, and the world
governing body FIFA said imports of some equipment for the
tournament had been affected.

Transnet said on Tuesday that with 65 percent of its workers
back at work it managed to move all crucial shipments, including
World Cup cargo and jet fuel.

Fuel imports through South Africa to landlocked Botswana
have been halved by the strike, and Botswana’s energy minister
was in Mozambique to try to secure long-term alternative supply
routes through Maputo, government officials said.

Four Metrorail commuter train coaches were set alight on
Tuesday, but no injuries were reported. It was not immediately
clear who was behind the attacks. Metrorail faces a parallel
national strike by Satawu over a pay dispute.

ECONOMY HIT

Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) said each two-week period
of the strike could cost the economy about 7 billion rand ($900
million) or 0.2 percent of gross domestic product.

“Supply chains are being severely disrupted and in many
cases export contracts have been permanently lost. Retrenchments
may now also be looming,” the industry body said in a statement.

Civil servants, including police and teachers, rejected a
pay offer and may consider striking. Residents in an informal
settlement protested on Monday, demanding better services.

Members of the bigger union at Transnet, the United
Transport and Allied Trade Union, resumed work on Monday after
accepting a pay rise of 11 percent, but the logistics group said
the backlog could take a month to clear.

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Tina
Joemat-Pettersson said the fruit industry alone had lost more
than 1 billion rand because of the strike. [ID:nLDE64N0ZT]

The South African unit of carmaker BMW (BMWG.DE: ) cancelled a
shift on Monday because of a lack of parts and other carmakers
warned they might do the same.

Global miners with operations in South Africa, including
Anglo American Plc (AAL.L: ), Xstrata (XTA.L: ) and the world’s top
steelmaker ArcelorMittal (ISPA.AS: )(MT.N: ) have declared force
majeure on the supply of iron ore, ferrochrome and steel.

Transnet has declared force majeure on coal for export.

So far, coal exports to power plants in Europe and Asia have
continued thanks to stocks at the ports, and fuel supplies to
petrol pumps in the country are also as yet unaffected.
— For a Q&A on South African strikes, see [ID:nLDE64O12G]

Investing Advice

(Additional reporting by Olivia Kumwenda; Writing by James
Macharia; editing by Tim Pearce)

UPDATE 3-Striking S.Africa workers call sympathy stoppages