File picture: Independent Media
Johannesburg – The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has on Tuesday, requested to meet with labour unions, after they asked the Prasa board to review it's mandate for wage increases, the United National Transport Union (UNTU) said. 

Prasa's management requested for the urgent meeting on Wednesday. UNTU said that it hoped that Prasa makes an "acceptable salary offer" to employees. UNTU said that it believes that a national strike would not be in the best interest of the company, the commuters or South Africans. 

“UNTU is a responsible trade union who does not take any form of industrial action lightly. However, our members deserve more than the seven percent salary increase the employer is offering right now," UNTU general secretary Steve Harris said. “Furthermore, there will be hell to pay if Prasa continues with its unjustified threats of job losses to follow a seven percent wage increase, after the management of the passenger rail operator admitted to parliament that they cannot account for R14-billion.  Therefore it is no wonder that Prasa has a budget deficit of R1.8-billion.” 

UNTU declared a dispute over wages in February and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), issued a certificate of non-resolution after it could not resolve the dispute. 

With the certificate, unions can give Prasa a 48-hour notice of its intent to embark on a protected national strike. Harris, however, said that UNTU was consolidating the mandates the Union received from its members across the country. 

"The union does not consider embarking on the strike before the upcoming long weekend." 

African News Agency