Strike looms at Gautrain

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The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) says strike action is inevitable should there be no agreement reached with Gautrain management as part of the Bombela Operating Company.

This follows a deadlock in negotiations on Friday, when Numsa engaged on wage talks with the management for a new wage agreement.

Numsa demands, among others, a 1.8% salary increase across the board, an increase of housing allowance and transport allowance.

Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola says Gautrain wants to abolish the staff cards, which allow workers to ride the Gautrain for free when they are traveling to and from work, but that will negatively impact workers.

“Strike looms at Gautrain. The decision to abolish the staff cards is outrageous because our members cannot afford to pay to use the Gautrain because it is really expensive, hence the need for staff cards. This benefit has been in place since 2013, and workers were allowed to utilize the train without paying. The company also wants to abolish the housing allowance, which enables workers to access housing. Without it, they would not be able to buy their own homes. Gautrain proposed removing it so it could be built into the wages, but our members reject this. We condemn the decision to terminate the staff cards in the strongest terms. We urge them to come back to the negotiating table so we can resolve this dispute. Failure to do so means, unfortunately, that striking action is inevitable.”