Commuters stranded as rail strike bites

A strike by rail workers left two million commuters stranded on Monday just 24 days from the kick-off of the Soccer World Cup, in which the rail network is expected to play a major role.

Nearly 12 000 workers at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa went on strike Monday, shutting down the agency’s commuter trains and inter-city rail network nationwide.

Tumisang Kgaboesele, the agency’s acting CEO, said the government had called for a quick resolution of the strike.

“The government has expressed concern about the effect the strike would have on commuters and the potential violence and intimidation that normally arises with it,” Kgaboesele told the South African Press Association (Sapa).

“They advised us that we need to move quickly.”

About two million commuters were left stranded by the strike, Sapa estimated.

The rail agency said it had offered workers an 8% across-the-board wage increase, but workers were demanding 16%.

The strike involves workers from two unions, the South African Trade and Allied Workers’ Union and the United Transport and Allied Trade Union, whose members had already gone on strike last week at national transport authority Transnet, which oversees the country’s rail network, harbours and fuel pipelines.

Monday’s strike shut down all Metrorail commuter trains and the Shosholoza Meyl inter-city rail network, both of which are expected to help ferry World Cup fans to and from matches during the June 11 to July 11 tournament.

The rail agency has spent $225-million upgrading its train and bus services ahead of the World Cup. — AFP

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


Ndabeni-Abrahams lockdown debacle: What we know

The minister has to answer to the president after a picture was posted of her apparently breaking lockdown rules

Covid-19 grounds Nigeria’s medical tourists

The country’s elites, including the president, travelled abroad for treatment but now they must use the country’s neglected health system

Nehawu launches urgent court bid over protective gear for health...

The health workers’ union says the government has rebuffed its attempts to meet about mitigating risks to workers

Stay at home, Cyril said. But what about the homeless?

In Tshwane, forcing homeless people off the street resulted in chaos and the abuse of a vulnerable population. In Durban, a smooth, well-planned operation fared far better

Press Releases

Everyone’s talking about it. Even Kentucky

Earlier this year South African fried chicken fast-food chain, Chicken Licken®, launched a campaign for their wallet-friendly EasyBucks® meals, based on the idea of ‘Everyone’s talking about it.’

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world