30 July 2018

South Africa: Commuters Stranded as Gautrain Workers' Strike Hits

Photo: Nithin bolar k/Wikimedia Commons
The Gautrain stops at O.R. Tambo International Airport (file photo).

Cape Town — Gautrain workers demanding a 10% wage increase have embarked on strike action after talks between the United National Transport Union (UNTU) and the Bombela Operating Company (BOC) deadlocked, according to Mail & Guardian.

UNTU cited the global economic recession and its "devastating impact" on the lives of its members in a statement that listed demands including:

  • A basic salary increase of 10%
  • A housing allowance of R1600
  • A transport allowance of R800 or staff card usage for office workers
  • NWTS R64 per hour
  • Night shift allowance to be increase by 10%
  • Medical Aid Contribution 55% employer, 45% employee
  • Incentive Bonuses R20 000 for all employees

BOC offered an increase of 7 percent across the board, a 50% medical aid contribution, along with a collective bonus target of R8,000 per employee per year; or an increase of 8,5%, plus a medical aid contribution of 55% though without a bonus, according to this eNCA report.

According to Times Live, the strike's effect on passengers travelling to OR Tambo International Airport prompted caution from airport spokesperson Leigh Gunkel-Keuler, who said in a statement: "People travelling to the airport are advised to check the contingency plans put in place by the Gautrain operating company. However‚ given the circumstances‚ airport management advises air passengers to give themselves more time than usual to get to the airport."

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