Metrorail strike over

The South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) has accepted a new wage offer from the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), ending a 15-day nationwide strike that left commuters stranded.

“The strike is over … our members are back at work today [Tuesday],” said Satawu deputy president Robert Mashego.

The union briefed its members on a new offer on Monday.

“Our members said they can live with it [the new offer],” said Mashego.

The Satawu strike, which had affected railway services, entered its third week on Monday after it started on May 17.

Workers were demanding a 13% increase while Prasa offered 10%.

The United Transport and Allied Trade Union (Utatu) initially embarked on strike action alongside Satawu, but later accepted the 10% wage increase offer, which had been revised upwards from 5%.

The new offer to Satawu, which was tabled on Friday, kept the 10% across-the-board increase for Prasa’s 15 000-strong work force.

But Shosholoza Meyl workers earning less than R60 000 a year would get a 12,5% increase, and Metrorail workers earning less than R70 000 a year would get a 12% salary hike.

This would affect a total of 4 800 workers, who were mainly coach cleaners.

Additionally, all workers would receive a R1 000 one-off payment in June.

The new offer would be backdated to April 1.

Prasa operates Metrorail and Shosholoza Meyl.

Rail services were completely shut down in the first week of the strike, after which a skeleton service was run when Utatu members went back to work.

About two million commuters who rely on rail services every day had to seek alternative transportation for the duration of the strike. — Sapa

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