Gautrain Management Agency to keep contingency plans in place to ensure services not grounded by strike
Pretoria - The Gautrain Management Agency will keep contingency plans in place to ensure its services are not grounded by the strike involving workers affiliated to the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa.
Spokesperson Kesagee Nayager said it was regrettable that further negotiations between the union and Bombela Operating Company - builder and operator of the rapid rail transit system - had not resolved the deadlock.
She said discussions resumed on Friday and continued until late in the evening, but there was still no agreement reached by the two parties to bring an end to the week-long strike.
The union is demanding an increase of 8%, but the employer insists on 4.1%, citing tough economic times brought on by the pandemic.
Gautrain initially announced that its contingency plans to assist passengers would not apply over the weekend and pulled trains off the tracks.
However, yesterday morning, it announced limited train services between 9am and 6pm on both the east-west and north-south lines.
Nayager said: “Today and tomorrow (today) trains will operate during the standard morning and afternoon peak periods at 15-minute intervals. We wish to use this opportunity to thank our staff who have worked exceptionally hard over this past week to keep the service going. We thank them for their dedication and commitment.”
Union spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said in terms of the negotiation deadlock there was still no change, and the legal strike would continue until a fair or reasonable agreement was reached.
She said the union initially wanted a 15% increase, but dropped it to 8%, and was willing to compromise further just as long as the employer returned to the table to negotiate in good faith instead of just “imposing” a 4.1% increase.
Workers affiliated to the union will continue to demonstrate outside Bombela offices in Midrand on a no-work no-pay basis. The roads and transport representatives at the provincial legislature have called on both parties to find common ground to end the strike.