The United National Transport Union (Untu) has threatened to take the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) to the Labour Court if the company does not confirm when it will pay a 5% wage increase. File photo
The United National Transport Union (Untu) has threatened to take the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) to the Labour Court if the company does not confirm when it will pay a 5% wage increase. File photo

Labour union in wage dispute with Prasa

By Dieketseng Maleke Time of article published Apr 26, 2021

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The United National Transport Union (Untu) has threatened to take the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) to the Labour Court if the company does not confirm when it will pay a 5% wage increase.

The union said Prasa did not implement the second year of a multiterm collective agreement it signed at its bargaining forum in October last year.

Untu said it was giving the state-owned enterprise until the close of business on Monday to respond. It said it had instructed its legal team to apply for an urgent application in the Labour Court if it did not get a positive response.

The union said it had tried in vain to get a response from management.

Acting general secretary Dan Khumalo said the union was shocked at how Prasa had disregarded the bargaining forum principles.

“It is shocking and disappointing to see that SOEs and government have a blatant disregard for the principles of collective bargaining, one of the pillars of South Africa’s Constitution. The Constitution is the cornerstone of our democracy,” he said.

The union said that last year it had approached the Labour Court in Johannesburg to force Prasa to pay.

The first year 5% wage increase, backdated to April last year, was paid out in December.

Untu is not the only union at odds with Prasa regarding the wage hike. Two weeks ago, members of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) vowed to continue picketing at lunchtime until Prasa agreed to the wage hike.

The union organised lunchtime pickets, accusing the rail agency of undermining collective bargaining rights.

Meanwhile, Untu and Satawu declared a dispute with another parastatal Transnet on Thursday after wage talks broke down, and warned of possible strike action if Transnet failed to present a better offer.

Both unions rejected Transnet's offer of a 3% wage hike.

Transnet said it was not in a position to meet the demands made by unions in the bargaining council, citing “the difficult economic climate and the resultant decline in the operational and financial performance of the company“.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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