Gautrain strike continues into second week, with no end in sight

The wage negotiations between the United National Transport Union and the Bombela Operating Company, which operates the Gautrain, have deadlocked.

A protest by Gautrain workers – who are part of the United National Transport Union (Untu) – is now into its second week with no end in sight.

The transport union welcomed the assistance of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) in the matter, however, the union and the Bombela Operating Company, which runs the Gautrain, have reached a deadlock.

Kesagee Nayager, the spokesperson for Bombela said the union had rejected two additional offers made by Bombela, which made a provision for an incentive bonus, which the union requested from the onset.

“We received a new demand from Untu, which now equates to an increase of 16,6 per cent instead of 19,5 per cent. Like Untu, we remain available to meet at short notice with the CCMA’s commissioners, together with Untu, to discuss the new demand,” said Nayager.

“We appreciate the fact that many of our customers use the Gautrain as their only mode of transport. We have therefore remained committed, willing and available to return to negotiations in order to find an amicable solution to the current wage deadlock.”

The union had originally demanded a 10 per cent salary increase‚ a housing allowance of R1 600‚ a transport allowance of R800‚ night shift to be increased by 10 per cent and a R20 000 incentive bonus for all employees. However, they have since revised this to a nine per cent increase as well as a provision for a housing allowance, a travel allowance and a R15 000 incentive bonus.

Steve Harris, general secretary of the union said that Bombela has infuriated union members after Bombela responded to the union’s lowered list of demands tabled yesterday in the media, rather than responding to the union. Harris added that to date the union has had to negotiate blind, as Bombela refuses to release their financial statements. “The arrogance and attitude of the French derailed this negotiation and is fuelling this strike,” said Harris.

The union has also called on Transport Minister Dr Blade Nzimande to instruct Gauteng Transport MEC Ismail Vadi to objectively intervene. “The Minister and the MEC should explain to the French-owned BOC that South African workers deserve to be respected and not disregarded as they have been doing so far,” he said.

The Sandton Gautrain is offering a reduced service during the strike with some train routes offered every 15 minutes and 36 minutes during peak periods and bus services operating during peak periods only.

Details: Gautrain Helpline 0800 428 87246.

How have you been affected by the Gautrain strike? Share your thoughts on the Sandton Chronicle Facebook page

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  AUTHOR
Laura Pisanello

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