First ever Gautrain strike comes to an end, union agrees to wage deal
The Gautrain strike ended on Monday, following two weeks of marathon negotiations. The strike saw reduced train and bus services and scores of commuters being left stranded.
Workers affiliated with the United National Transport Union (UNTU) and the Gautrain’s holding company, Bombela Operating Company (BOC), had been stuck in a wage deadlock with workers 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.
The striking members included train drivers, customer service consultants, conductors and security guards.
UNTU spokesperson Sonja Carstens told the Mail & Guardian that the union was at the Gautrain Midrand Depot where they will be signing a wage offer.
The offer includes an 8% salary increase across the board, a housing allowance of R900 (up from an allowance of R750) and an incentive bonus of R5 000 per worker at the end of this year.
The minimum wage for all workers will also be increased to R8 500.
The workers will resume work once they have been given their rosters which is expected on Tuesday. The salary increases will also be backdated to July 15 2018.
Carstens said the union, with the help of the Federation of Unions of South Africa and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) held meetings with BOC the whole day on Sunday before “finally” reaching an agreement.
“We are very satisfied. This is the best we could do under the circumstances.”
BOC had initially responded to the workers demands by offering the union a 8.6% salary increase and no incentive bonuses but this offer was resoundingly rejected.
Last week Monday, the CCMA stepped in to mediate in the meetings between UNTU and BOC but even after each group presented their proposals, a settlement was still not reached.