Trains will run despite strike, says Metrorail
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Cape Town - Metrorail has apologised for the inconvenience commuters might experience on Thursday as a result of a strike by its employees, but said trains would still operate.
Metrorail workers belonging to the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) are expected to embark on a protected strike on Thursday. The union said the strike was about poor management and what it called exploitation of workers.
Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott said activation of its contingency plan would ensure the service operated as normally as possible.
She said Metrorail “apologises for the unintended disruption to operations and the resultant inconvenience to commuters”.
Satawu shop steward Luntu Sokutu said strikers would gather at Cape Town train station and picket with placards.
“If Metrorail feels confident services will go on, then let them be,” said Sokutu.
Sokutu said about 1 600 union members would be part of the strike until their demands were met.
The union had served Metrorail with a 48-hour strike notice on Monday.
“The majority of workers will be on strike and the strike will have an impact on services. Prasa must be responsible and answer to our demands,” he said.
Metrorail trains transport about 100 000 commuters daily.
Sokutu said Satawu was demanding an end to outsourcing of permanent services and for local workers’ salaries to be aligned with what workers in other provinces earned.
Metrorail regional manager Richard Walker said its Rapid Rail Unit and the Protection Services staff would be on high alert to prevent violent action and ensure order was maintained.
Walker said while the company respected employees’ right to strike, it condemned any form of intimidation of fellow employees or commuters
“Allegations have already surfaced of employees being threatened not to report for work tomorrow.
“We strongly condemn any form of violence and intimidation during the strike action and urge anyone subjected to any form of intimidation to immediately report this to the nearest police station so that offenders can be brought to book,” he said.
Walker advised commuters and employers to listen to public address announcements, radio stations, traffic updates and follow Metrorail’s social media communication for information on the strike.
In the event of a strike the City of Cape Town would deploy additional buses on the N2 Express route between Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha and Cape Town during the morning and afternoon peak hours to assist commuters who may be affected, the City announced on Wednesday.
Mayco member for Transport Brett Herron said: “The additional capacity is intended to assist commuters who have to travel between Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha and Cape Town, and to prevent them from being stranded due to the imminent strike by Metrorail’s personnel.”
He urged commuters from the Cape Flats to make use of the service during the strike.