Fri Oct 21 22:16:07 SAST 2016

Metrorail strike impact low as commuters travel

By Kea' Modimoeng and Nivashni Nair | Aug 18, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

JOHANNESBURG and Durban train commuters got to their destinations without much hassle, while those in Cape Town were left stranded by the nationwide Metrorail strike.

Train drivers, protection and customer service personnel - all members of the United Transport and Allied Trade Union - started the strike yesterday morning after salary talks with their employer collapsed.

They picketed outside Metrorail offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria.

Utatu is demanding a wage increase of 8percent and a further 2percent from September 1. The larger union representing workers at Metrorail, the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union, settled for 8percent last week.

Other demands include the removal of the clause referring to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, which the union believes could result in workers losing R4000 a month if implemented. They are also demanding a further 8percent increase in the housing and medical subsidy.

Union officials in Cape Town said Metrorail regional manager Steven Ngobeni refused to accept a memorandum from the striking workers.

"We will come here everyday and force him to accept it," said Tshidiso Plaatjies, Utatu assistant general secretary, yesterday.

Metrorail spokesperson in the Western Cape, Rianna Scott, said three out of 10 trains in the region were operational.

"The service is the equivalent of a Sunday service and about 30percent of the usual morning peak potential."

In Gauteng, the strike was reported to have had a minimal impact mainly due to the fact that Utatu represents the minority of the workers in the sector, with Satawu having represented the majority. - Additional reporting by Sapa


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