Gautrain strike set to disrupt services as NUMSA calls for action

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gautrain
The Gautrain. Image credit: Wikipedia.

Commuters relying on the Gautrain are being warned of potential service interruptions due to a strike called by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA). The strike is set to commence at 6 AM on Monday, 8 July, following a deadlock in wage negotiations with the Bombela Operating Company (BOC), which operates the Gautrain.

NUMSA served a 48-hour strike notice to BOC management, highlighting that wage talks, which began on 17 April, have failed to yield satisfactory results despite two rounds of discussions. The last meeting, held on 11 June, ended in a stalemate, prompting the union to resort to industrial action.

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As the majority union with sole negotiating power at Gautrain, NUMSA has outlined several core demands:

  1. A 13% increase across the board.
  2. A medical aid contribution split, with BOC contributing 60% and employees 40%.
  3. A housing allowance of R2000 per employee per month.
  4. Compensation for additional hours worked due to the shift from a 5-day to a 6-day operation, including overtime rates for the 6th day.
  5. Equal treatment for all workers, citing the disparity where office workers received a R22,000 bonus while blue-collar workers were denied a guaranteed bonus and subjected to an incentive bonus requiring qualification.
  6. Reinstatement of the recognition agreement with the union and the provision of full-time shop stewards to represent workers in disciplinary inquiries and grievances.

Hostility

NUMSA accuses BOC of hostility towards the union, alleging that management unilaterally withdrew the recognition agreement. The union asserts that this undermines workers’ constitutional right to trade union representation.

“We apologize for the inconvenience to commuters, but we have been forced into taking this drastic course of action,” said NUMSA in their press statement. “The strike is indefinite and will continue until our demands are met.”

Commuters are advised to plan alternative transport arrangements as the strike is expected to cause significant disruptions to Gautrain services.

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