Rail commuters still in limbo

Train commuters will have to wait until Monday for Metrorail trains as one of the transport unions had not signed a deal with the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), the agency said on Thursday night.

“Unfortunately we can’t run the trains because we have to run clinical tests first. Our clinical teams will go there tomorrow [Friday] and check the trains and rails … full services will be on Monday,” Prasa acting CEO Tumisang Kgaboesele said.

The parastatal was awaiting feedback from the South African Transport and Allied Worker’s Union (Satawu), which was still polling its members about Prasa’s 10% wage offer. Only the United Transport and Allied Trade Union (Utatu) had signed the 10% wage increment agreement by 6pm on Thursday.

“What happened is that when they [unions] reported back to us, Satawu’s report was that its membership was demanding 13%. The offer on the table was the last offer and we were not going to move anyway,” Kgaboesele said.

Satawu and Utatu had until Sunday to make up their minds, he said. Satawu general secretary Zenzo Mahlangu said the union was “trying to tie up loose ends relating to the mandate in process … We just want to make sure that our mandate is concluded so we’ll probably sign tomorrow [Friday]”.

Utatu general secretary Chris de Vos could not immediately be reached for comment, but in a voicemail he left on his phone he said: “It is 6pm, we have just signed a wage agreement deal with Prasa”.

The two unions at Prasa began a strike on Monday that saw Metrorail, Shosholoza Meyl and Autopax bus services shut down countrywide.

They initially wanted 15 percent increase, while the company was offering 8%.

Late on Wednesday, they managed to resolve a clause in the conditions of employment, a matter which would now be dealt with separately.

The new agreement covered a 10% wage increase, four months of maternity leave, new conditions of employment and, most importantly to Prasa, moving to a 24-hour roster.

“It was important. The biggest problem we have is we cannot maintain the infrastructure [without overtime],” Kgaboesele said.

By shifting to a 24-hour roster, Prasa could schedule maintenance work when passenger services were not active.

Kgaboesele said the change could save Prasa up to R350-million of its current R550-million overtime bill.

Meanwhile, the Transnet deal would only be signed on Friday as Satawu was still consulting its members on the new offer. Utatu had
been prepared to sign, but was told it could not until Satawu had indicated its position.

The strike at Transnet began with Satawu on Monday May 10. Utatu joined a day later.

Transnet employs nearly 54 000 people. Satawu represents 39% and Utatu represents 45% of the workers. — Sapa

Staff Reporter
Guest Author

Mabuza’s ‘distant relative’ scored big

Eskom’s woes are often because of boiler problems at its power plants. R50-billion has been set aside to fix them, but some of the contracts are going to questionable entities

ANC faction gunning for Gordhan

The ambush will take place at an NEC meeting about Eskom. But the real target is Cyril Ramaphosa

What the law could clarify this year

Lawfare: Major developments are on the cards where law and politics meet, including the first amendment to South Africa’s Bill of Rights

The secret ‘Warmonger’ at the SSA

A listening device acquired by the agency is at the centre of an alleged R600-million fraud operation

Press Releases

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Is your tertiary institution is accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Is your tertiary institution accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

VUT chancellor, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi, dies

The university conferred the degree of Doctor of Science Honoris Causa on Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi for his outstanding leadership contributions to maths and science education development.

Innovate4AMR now in second year

SA's Team pill-Alert aims to tackle antimicrobial resistance by implementing their strategic intervention that ensures patients comply with treatment.

Medical students present solution in Geneva

Kapil Narain and Mohamed Hoosen Suleman were selected to present their strategic intervention to tackle antimicrobial resistance to an international panel of experts.