As the Gautrain strike entered its second week, the first day of the intervention by the Commission Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) was spent listening to the background to the industrial action, according to United National Transport Union (UNTU) spokesperson Sonja Carstens.
Carstens said the Bombela Operating Company (BOC) put a new offer on the table: for a three-year wage deal which had previously never been part of the package.
She said it would require further discussion and the CCMA’s intervention was likely to only resume later in the week.
The Gautrain — which ferries approximately 60 000 commuters a month — has only been running during peak periods with reduced services since July 30 due to the strike.
UNTU is demanding a 10% basic salary increase, a transport allowance of R800, a housing allowance of R1 600 and incentive bonuses of R20 000 for all employees.
The BOC has offered an 8.6% across the board increase, calling the above inflation hike “generous”.
An office worker, who wished to remain anonymous, explained how the strike has affected her productivity.
“I travel from Rosebank to Pretoria and I am completely reliant on public transport, as I currently do not have my driver’s licence.
“During the first few days of the strike, where the train was not making a stop in Rosebank, I was forced to make use of an Uber (which cost an arm and a leg) and for the next two days, I stayed at home — making use of my valuable annual leave — even though I continued working from home,” she said.
She added that she was frustrated with the Gautrain’s communication around the strike, noting that the mitigation plans came late on Sunday night, before the start of the strike.
“Gautrain management has been very evasive and most commuters don’t even know how wage negotiations have been progressing and when we can expect the strike to be over. There is a lot of uncertainty at the moment,” the Gautrain user said.
The Gautrain has apologised to commuters for the delays and reduced service during the industrial action and has directed commuters to its website and mobile app for updated information.
Cape Town taxi strike
The Cape Town taxi strike was called off late on Monday night.
Earlier on Thursday, Khayelitsha bus service was suspended after a provincial taxi strike over a leadership dispute led to three buses being stoned and two set alight, councillor Brett Herron, member for mayoral committee for transport and urban development, said.
“The service will remain suspended until further notice,” said Herron.
This, after two MyCiTi buses were attacked en route to the Kuyasa station shortly before the start of the morning rush in Khayelitsha. A third MyCiTi bus was stoned along the N2 freeway.
He said two Golden Arrow Bus Services buses were also set alight.
Fedusa said in a statement on Monday evening that a high profile group, led by general secretary Dennis George and Steve Harris, the general secretary of the United National Transport Union (UNTU) – the Fedusa affiliate at the passenger rail sector and the majority union at Bombela Concessionaire, the Gautrain management company, will be out “in full force” on Tuesday morning at the Gautrain Midrand Station “in a show of public support for UNTU’s strike”. — News24