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Union hauls Prasa to Labour Court over wage dispute

Prasa CEO Zolani Matthews. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

Prasa CEO Zolani Matthews. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

Published May 25, 2021


Pretoria - The labour-related impasse between the United National Transport Union and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) over a wage increment is heading to the Labour Court.

This is according to union spokesperson Sonja Carstens, who indicated that the union could tomorrow file an urgent court application to force Prasa to pay workers a 5% salary increase in line with a multi-term wage agreement.

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Carstens said yesterday that the court application had been prepared and was waiting for the signature of one of the union’s deputies whose name appeared on the papers.

In a media statement, union general secretary Steve Harris said they had already placed Prasa on terms to pay the wage increase for 2021, after the parastatal failed to pay at the end of April.

The union also accused Prasa of reneging on a promise by its chief executive, Zolani Matthews, to pay a wage increase.

Matthews, according to the union, made the undertaking during a meeting between the two parties recently.

The initial extension was until May 7, 2021, but Prasa once again asked the union to bear with it, according to Harris.

He said: “Prasa is playing for time, while National Treasury seems to believe that it is above the law and can simply ignore collective agreements parties entered into.

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“This is seen in the fact that the South African Revenue Service is also taken to court for an order to compel it to pay out the last year of its wage agreement with the Public Servants Association.

“Collective bargaining is a fundamental right in our Constitution. It is one of the pillars of the Labour Relations Act and is rooted in the International Labour Organisation constitution and a fundamental core of its conventions.”

Harris said the union waived the rights of its members to embark on industrial action when it signed the multi-term wage agreement with Prasa.

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“Prasa was adamant to secure a multi-term agreement to ensure a stable working environment.

“In return, Prasa committed itself to no retrenchments during the period.

We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that Prasa employees get the increase that is due to them,” he said.

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Prasa spokesperson Bane Ndlovu did not respond to a request for comment on whether the state-owned enterprise would oppose the court application and the claims that the parastatal broke its promise to pay the wage increase.

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