File picture: Bongani Shilulbane/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – Metrorail in the province said it was aware of a looming strike by United National Transport Union (Untu) members later this month.

Untu spokesperson Sonja Carstens said the union organised the protected strike for July 26.

On the back of a train derailment yesterday at 4.10am in Johannesburg, union secretary Steve Harris said the industrial action was to force the government to turn the rail service around.

“How can President Cyril Ramaphosa create a dream of bullet trains from Joburg to Musina when the police cannot even prevent clamps being stolen that are supposed to be holding the sleepers together on the ailing rail system?

“To date Prasa has also been allowed to ignore a judgment in the Constitutional Court made in 2015 according to which trains are not allowed to have open doors while in motion.

“The court ruled that any operator who allows this to happen is guilty of criminal negligence and must be prosecuted,” said Harris.

The chief director at the Department of Labour, and a member of the steering committee of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), Thembinkosi Mkhaliphi, said: “All workers, whether or not they are commuters or employees of Prasa, should feel safe when they are travelling on trains. Even if only one person dies, it is one too many.”

Nedlac granted Untu’s affiliate, the Federation of Trade Unions of South Africa, the Section 77 protest action certificate in terms of the Labour Relations Act.

Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott said they were aware of the looming strike action.

“The region is aware of Untu’s intention to embark on industrial action. However since this will be a national event, it will be addressed by our national office,” said Scott.

Prasa spokesperson Nana Zenani said they had not received a “formal request from Untu” regarding the industrial action.

Cape Times