Gautrain bus delays as first ever strike kicks off
Striking workers have blocked the road preventing Gautrain buses from leaving the Midrand depot and as a result, buses have been delayed by approximately an hour, according to Gautrain spokesperson Kesagee Nayager
The Gautrain’s contingency plans had been to operate a bus service to accommodate airport and Rhodesfield station passengers as no trains on those routes are operational during the industrial action which kicked off on Monday.
The United National Transport Union (UNTU) embarked on a strike on Monday morning, demanding a 10% wage increase from the Bombela Operating Company (BOC) which runs the Gautrain.
The Gautrain is operating a reduced service consisting of a peak period train service between Centurion and Sandton every 12 minutes, and between Sandton and Park stations every 20 minutes. No train service will be available during the off-peak period and only Centurion, Sandton and Park stations are open.
According to a statement by UNTU on Monday morning, close to half of their 250 members working at the BOC kicked off the first ever strike at the Gautrain by singing and dancing from midnight outside the Midrand Train Depot in “protest against their employers’ arrogance against their wage demand”.
“To the majority of these members this strike has become much more than just a fight about annual wages. They want to know what their employer is hiding from them by refusing the union to have confidential access to its financial statements,” Steve Harris, general secretary of UNTU said.
Nayager said that Bombela remains open to negotiations with the union.
“The Company offered an 8.5% increase in salaries and benefits. Furthermore, it offered to increase the minimum wage for operational staff to R8 500 per month. This offer was rejected by UNTU whose latest demand equates to a global increase of 19.5%.”
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. — Fin 24