Home / Business / Fin24.com | Gautrain says it has taken legal steps to prevent intimidation during strike

The Gautrain said on Monday evening that it had taken legal steps to ensure that striking workers protest peacefully and had implemented additional safety measures on the first day of an indefinite wage strike which has affected travel in SA‘s economic hub.  

It would not on Monday divulge what the legal action entailed.

“We have implemented additional security measures and the safety of passengers and workers will not be compromised at any time. We have taken the necessary legal steps to ensure that the UNTU members protest peacefully and within the ambits of the law,” said Gautrain spokesperson Kesagee Nayager in a statement on Monday evening

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Since the strike began the Gautrain has operated a reduced rail service, which consists a peak period train service between Centurion and Sandton every 12 minutes, and between Sandton and Park stations every 20 minutes. No train service is available during the off-peak period and only the Centurion, Sandton and Park stations are open. 

“Until such time that an agreement is reached, the contingency plan will remain in effect. This plan will be revised on an ongoing basis and should be there any changes as a result of intimidation, acts of violence or criminality,” said Nayager.

On day one of the strike Monday, the Bombela Operating Company – which runs the Gautrain – claimed that busses were delayed due to striking employees blocking the road to the Midrand depot. The buses were earmarked to ferry commuters between Sandton, OR Tambo International Airport and Rhodesfield during the industrial action.

The United National Transport Union (UNTU) denied being responsible for any intimidation during the industrial action, and insisted that members picketed outside the depot peacefully. UNTU is demanding a 10%  basic salary increase, a transport allowance of R800, a housing allowance of R1 600 and incentive bonuses of R20 000 for all employees.

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The BOC said it had offered an 8.6% across-the-board increase, and called on UNTU to reconsider the offer. “Annually, over the last 5 years, the Company has granted increases in excess of 8%, which was significantly above inflation. The fact that staff turnover at the Company is low, is an indication that working conditions are conducive and that workers are content. To increase the Company’s offer any further is neither responsible nor sustainable,” said  Nayager

The union however maintains that due to the late night and early morning shift system, Gautrain workers are forced to sleep inside stations as they cannot afford private transportation or houses close to the prime real estate surrounding the rail route.  

Fin24 spoke to several stranded travellers on Monday and some Johannesburg based employees  who chose to work from home during the  strike. 

“We acknowledge that the strike has inconvenienced some passengers, and the intent of the reduced service is to accommodate as many passengers as possible over this time,” Nayager said.

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