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Gautrain implements contingency plan as workers demand higher wage increase

05 October 2020 - 13:26 By nomahlubi sonjica
Gautrain workers affiliated to Numsa are demanding an 8% wage increase.
Gautrain workers affiliated to Numsa are demanding an 8% wage increase.
Image: Gallo Images / Foto24 / Nelius Rademan

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) says its striking Gautrain members will continue to picket until their demands are met.

The union announced on Sunday that its members would embark on protest action against Gautrain operator Bombela Operating Company (BOC).

Numsa members are demanding an 8% wage increase.

Speaking to TimesLIVE on Monday, Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said:  “Our members are picketing and will continue until their demands are met.

“Management is not willing to meaningfully engage with employees. They are trying to impose a 4.1% increase. Our members are demanding an 8% increase.”

The union accused the company of not putting the offer on the table during negotiations.

“They imposed it on us. They sent us an e-mail and said it’s 4% or nothing and we are not negotiating. That is negotiating in bad faith,” Hlubi-Majola said.

The union rejected statements allegedly made by the company that Numsa members were demanding a 26% wage increase.

“That is outrageous. It’s absolute hogwash and we reject it with the contempt it deserves.”

Negotiations deadlock

Gautrain spokesperson Kesagee Nayager said negotiations between the two parties had deadlocked after the union rejected the company’s 4.1% offer.

“We have not officially seen the 8% demand that Numsa has been referring to in the media. We believe an increase of 4.1% is fair, given our economic circumstances as a country as well as globally,” she said.

“Since the outbreak of Covid-19, not a single Gautrain worker took home reduced pay and not a single job was lost at Gautrain.”

Nayager said the company was calling on Numsa to accept the 4.1% offer the company had put on the table.

She said the Gautrain was operating at 15-minute intervals on Monday morning as opposed to the 30-minute intervals initially announced.

“We have implemented a contingency plan to ensure we continue to deliver a train service to our passengers. The train service will not be available during the off-peak period today [Monday], but the bus and midi-bus service is not affected by the strike and will continue to operate as per the standard schedule,” she said.

“We apologise in advance for the inconvenience to our passengers and assure them that we will keep them informed of any changes in this regard.”