Workers at the Gautrain, affiliated with the National Union of Metalworkers’ (Numsa) will be going on strike on Monday, 5 October 2020, after both parties failed to reach an agreement over wages.
The union is demanding an 8% wage hike but Bombela Operating Company (BOC), which runs Gautrain has put only half of that on the table and is refusing to budge on the offer.
“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 per cent increase in order to cushion the lowest paid worker who earns approximately R8500 per month,” said Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola.
Numsa: Members being intimidated
The union has also lashed out at the employer, accusing it of trying to intimidate its members into not continuing with the strike and backing down on their demands. The company is alleged to have already sent out letters to workers, encouraging them to abandon Numsa – a move which the union says is merely aimed at averting the strike.
“We condemn these cowardly attempts with the contempt they deserve. The management of Gautrain still have an opportunity to engage us, but they refuse. Instead they would rather jeopardize the livelihoods of thousands of commuters by provoking our members to strike, and refusing to sit around the table to negotiate,” Hlubi-Majola further said.
The picket is expected to get underway at 08:00 and conclude at 11:00 at the employer’s headquarters in Midrand.
Gautrain: Contingency plan in place
In response, Gautrain has apologised to its commuters for any inconvenience caused but has assured them the train would continue to operate. It said there is a contingency plan in place to ensure it seems the transport needs of its customers.
“We will implement a contingency plan to ensure we can continue to deliver a train service to our valued passengers. We have also implemented additional safety measures on the Gautrain system so that your safety is not compromised,” it said in a statement.
Gautrain said trains would be available during morning and afternoon peak periods. The morning peak period is between 05:30 and 09:00 while the afternoon peak period is between 15:00 and 19:00.
“The bus and mini-bus service will not be affected by the strike…”