Gautrain will operate despite Numsa wage strike - operator

By Sihle Mlambo Time of article published Oct 5, 2020

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Johannesburg - The Gautrain will continue to operate in 15-minute intervals during the peak periods in the morning and the afternoon, a spokesperson for the operator said on Monday.

The company also said the Gautrain bus and midi-bus service would not be affected by the strike and will operate as per the standard schedule.

Members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) are on strike from Monday morning and will be picketing at the Bombela Operating Company's head office in Midrand to highlight their demands as part of the strike.

Wage negotiations between the operator of the Gautrain, the Bombela Operating Company, and Numsa has deadlocked and Numsa has given notice that workers affiliated with the union will embark on strike from Monday morning.

Kesagee Nayager, a Gautrain spokesperson, told Talk Radio 702 on Monday morning that the train service was working in 15 minute intervals during the morning peak and the same was expected in the afternoon.

She said the company had made contingency plans after the union filed notice to strike from Monday.

She said they could not say how long their contingency plans would be in place for, but, she said the company was still willing to negotiate with the union on the deadlock.

Nayager also said the company had been in negotiations with the union since August, where it initially offered a 2.2% wage increase, which was rejected by the union.

She said the company revised it's offer to 4.1%, which was also rejected.

Nayager said the union had initially demanded a 15% increase, which she said, amounted to a 30% increase after factoring bonuses and allowances, which she said the company could not afford.

Numsa spokesperson Phakamani Hlubi said the union was demanding an 8% increase, but Nayager said the company had never seen such an offer from the union.

Hlubi said the company was negotiating in bad faith after offering a take it or leave it deal.

Both parties said they were still willing to negotiate.

Meanwhile, the strike will see the company carry out a no work no pay basis, as per the provisions in the Labour Relations Act.

“The company has offered a 4.1% increase in salaries and all benefits. This offer was rejected by Numsa whose latest demand equates to an increase of approximately 26%,” Nayager said on Sunday.

Hlubi-Majola said: “Our members will be on an indefinite strike until the Bombela Operating Company (BOC) engages us meaningfully on our demands.

“The BOC refuses to negotiate wages with us, they are simply imposing a 4% increase on our members, without engaging or negotiating with them.

“We are demanding 8% increase in order to cushion the lowest paid worker who earns approximately R8500 per month,” she said.

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