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EXPLAINER: Why Gautrain workers are on strike

The United National Transport Union announced on Sunday that it would go ahead with a strike over bonuses and a 10% wage increase demand on Monday.

In a statement released on Sunday, UNTU members working for the Bombela Operating Company (BOC) — which operates the Gautrain — said they were locked in a dispute with the company and would be downing tools in an industrial action.

The statement said most BOC employees could afford housing qualify for RDP-houses because they earn above the threshold, but the majority don’t qualify or cannot afford a bond to buy a property.

“The earliest shift of BOC starts at 03:00 in the morning, but the employees who have to work these shifts also cannot afford to rent rooms in the mostly upmarket areas next to the Gautrain. The Gautrain runs from Hatfield in Pretoria through Centurion, Midrand, Sandton and Rosebank to Park Station,” said the statement.

Among other things, UNTU demands Basic Salary increase of 10%, a housing allowance R1600, a transport allowance of R800 and incentive Bonuses of R20 000 for all employees.

According to UNTU Bombela Operating Company offered union members an 8.5% salary increase across the board and would not pay employees an incentive bonus.

Gautrain took to its Twitter accountto confirm that a strike would commence on Monday, adding that it was developing measures to mitigate the impact of the industrial action.

“Unfortunately, wage negotiations have deadlocked and as a result a strike will commence tomorrow morning, 30 July. An operational plan is being finalised and the details of which will be communicated later this afternoon,” Gautrain said in a tweet on Sunday.

The strike was announced after talks at the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration failed. UNTU says it represents more than 90% of Bombela Operating Company employees. — Fin 24

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Khulekani Magubane
Khulekani Magubane

Khulekani Magubane is a senior financial reporter for Fin24. 

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