Gautrain will operate on public holiday, no end in sight for strike

A train service on the public holiday will be available every 40 minutes between OR Tambo International and Sandton stations, stopping at Rhodesfield station. (Gallo Images)

A train service on the public holiday will be available every 40 minutes between OR Tambo International and Sandton stations, stopping at Rhodesfield station. (Gallo Images)

The Gautrain will operate on Thursday (Women’s Day) with a reduced service during peak periods, as the strike continues.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Bombela Operating Company (BOC), which runs the Gautrain, said services are being extended as some non-unionised employees are returning to work.

The United National Transport Union (UNTU) began a wage strike on Monday July 30, which has seen the Gautrain cut its operations and limit the rapid rail service to peak periods.

A train service on the public holiday will be available every 40 minutes between OR Tambo International and Sandton stations, stopping at Rhodesfield station.

Trains will operate between 05:40 and 09:40; and between 15:20 and 19:20  — the afternoon peak period will, therefore, be extended to begin at 15:20 instead of 16:00.

A bus service will also be available every twenty minutes from 10:00 to 15:00 between the airport and Sandton stations.

A train service will be available every 40 minutes between Pretoria and Park station, stopping at Centurion, Sandton and Rosebank. Passengers travelling from Pretoria to Park station or from Park station to Pretoria stations will no longer be required to change trains at Sandton.

Trains on this popular route on the public holiday will operate between 05:40 and 09:40 and between 15:40 and 19:40.

As of Friday, the Midrand station will be open during peak hours and trains will be available every 15 minutes.

The afternoon peak period will be extended to begin at 15:30 instead of 16:00.

The BOC said it remained “committed and available” for further negotiations with UNTU to resolve the strike.

Simmering tensions

Meanwhile, UNTU on Wednesday called on Transport Minister Blade Nzimande to instruct Gauteng Transport MEC Ismail Vadi to “objectively intervene” in the strike — which is in its tenth day — amidst simmering tensions.

According to the union, “chaos erupted” on Wednesday morning on the route to the Gautrain Midrand depot after rocks and burning tyres where placed on the road in contravention of the interdict the BOC obtained last week against striking UNTU members.

“UNTU does not take any responsibility for this illegal act. We were not aware of this until the union and our strike marshals arrived at the depot this morning.
It must have been done by frustrated individuals who took the law in their own hands,” said Steve Harris, general secretary of UNTU.

Gautrain spokesperson Kesagee Nayager confirmed the incident, saying the police intervened and the road was reopened.

UNTU on Tuesday lowered its wage demand for Gautrain workers, following an intervention by the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration.

According to the new demand, the union wants a 9% basic salary increase across the board, a housing allowance of R1 400, a 9% increase to the travel allowance and incentive bonuses of R15 000.

The Gautrain is offering an 8.6% wage increase across the board.

When asked by Fin24 whether Vadi will intervene in the strike, the Gauteng Department of Transport referred to a statement from last Monday by the MEC, condemning alleged violence and intimidation during the industrial action. — Fin24

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