Gautrain strike: Wage negotiations with the help of the CCMA underway
The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) is currently in the process of mediating in the wage deadlock between striking Gautrain workers and holding company Bombela Operating Company (BOC).
BOC was awarded the tender to build, maintain, operate and partially finance the Gautrain rapid rail system.
The strike — which is Gautrain’s first ever — has continued into its second week with workers affiliated with the United National Transport Union (UNTU) demanding a 10% basic salary increase, a housing allowance of R1 600, a transport allowance of R800 and incentive bonuses of R20 000 for all employees.
BOC had initially responded to the workers demands by offering union members a 8.5% salary increase and no incentive bonuses but the union rejected this offer.
UNTU’s Sonja Carstens told the Mail & Guardian that CCMA commissioners were talking to the teams from the union and the company in separate rooms and that the union had presented the workers’ list of demands.
Each group was currently giving proposals on how to proceed but a settlement being reached on Monday was highly unlikely.
“There is no way that a resolution will be reached today,” Carstens said.
The striking members consist of train drivers, customer service consultants, conductors and security guards.
The CCMA offered to step in on Friday, with both the company and the union welcoming the intervention.
As part of a contingency plan, the Gautrain has been running on a reduced train and bus service during peak hours in the mornings and evenings. Routes have also been limited.
The service was completely closed down this past weekend to allow for maintenance works which were originally scheduled for later in the year to decrease the inconvenience on train users once the service is up and running again.