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After a sequence of negotiations and mergers in the transport industry, the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (SATAWU) was eventually formed in the year 2000. The union organises workers in the transport sector, cleaning and security companies.

The Formation

The call for a one country, one federation and one industry by the Congress of South African Trade Unions saw to the formation of the SATAWU. The successful formation of the SATAWU we know today took a long time and process. The process dragged on mainly because numerous independent unions had to be brought together as one, the unions which had to be brought together were:

  1. The South African Railways and Harbours Workers’ Union (SARHWU)
  2. The Black Transnet Allied Trade Union (BLATU)
  3. The Transnet Allied Trade Union (TATU), and
  4. The Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU).

The Union sees to a successful private and public collaboration to those involved in transport services, Maritime, Civil Aviation, Transport infrastructure services and Property Services. The SATAWU also includes those in General cleaning services, Laundry and Dry Cleaning services, Funeral undertaking services, Security services and Taxi Industry.

The Aims and Objective of the Union are as follows:


  1. To advance and defend the interest of the workers in respect to all matters of mutual interest between workers and their employers in order to improve the standard of living of the union`s members, workers and the working class in general. To advance and defend the union`s members and workers employment and the socioeconomic interest and rights.
  2. To promote and defend the socio-economic interests of the union members, workers and the working class.
  3. To resist and defend the union members against unfair labour practises and dismissals.
  4. To promote the job security of the workers and union members by fighting for job creation programmes and resisting dismissals for operational reasons
  5. To eradicate all forms of unfair discrimination in the workplace and society that are based upon arbitrary grounds including but not limited to race, gender, sex, ethnic, social origin, colour, birth, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, age, disability, HIV status, religion, culture & political opinion.
  6. To build and maintain a democratic worker controlled union based on the principles of non-racialism, non-tribalism, non-sexism, non-homophobic and non-xenophobic principles.
  7. To promote democracy and worker control in the union by encouraging members, shop stewards, officials and office bearers to work in an accountable and responsible fashion by, amongst other things:
  • Seeking the appropriate mandate and reporting back to the relevant structures of the union and its members
  • Accepting and offering constructive criticism that builds the union
  • Providing information about the union and its work to the members and other workers in a manner or language that is easily understood.
  • Fostering the democratic participation of members in the union, especially the participation of women; and
  • Building strong and active shop steward structure.
  1. To advance and defend the cause of democracy and socialism in the workplace, the economy, the country and internationally.
  2. To build solidarity and foster unity, co-operation and comradeship amongst all workers and the working class.


To this end, the Union will:

  1. Recruit and unite workers in order to pursue their economic and social interest and welfare.
  2. Provide and promote projects such as education and training for our members and staff.
  3. To eradicate all forms of unfair discrimination in the workplace.
  4. To unite, inspire and educate our members
  5. To render effective and quality service to our members
  6. To ensure that members actively participate in the union`s activities in determining the destiny of the union

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