CARRIAGES SET ALIGHT in metrorail STRIKE

TWO Metrorail carriages were set alight on the Cape Flats yesterday morning as a strike by members of the SA Transport and Allied Workers union entered its second day.

TWO Metrorail carriages were set alight on the Cape Flats yesterday morning as a strike by members of the SA Transport and Allied Workers union entered its second day.

Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott said the carriages were part of a train set alight that had been standing empty at Nyanga station when the incident occurred.

The fire started in one carriage and spread to the next.

The paintwork and interior fittings of the carriages had been damaged, but they were salvageable.

Witnesses had given Metrorail statements on which it had been able to apply for an interdict against the strikers, and to provide information to the police.

"We are very hopeful that arrests will be made today," she said.

Metrorail had also identified a number of strikers who had been intimidating non-striking staff.

They would face internal disciplinary charges and, if it was warranted, criminal charges as well.

The union's Western Cape secretary Evan Abrahamse said he was unable to say who was responsible for the arson attack.

"Apparently the police are investigating it," he said.

"But as Satawu we distance ourselves from any activities of such a nature, and trust that the culprits will be brought to book."

He said that yesterday morning Metrorail got police to evict some 500 strikers who were picketing at Cape Town station.

This was a violation of those workers' rights, he said.

The strike, over the non-payment of a 2009 end-of-year bonus to a group of employees who were made permanent workers during the year, involves mainly ticket sellers and examiners, and is confined to the Western Cape.

Metrorail said only about 150 workers are on strike.

It said the strike has not affected its train services, but that it has proved inconvenient for people wanting to buy monthly tickets ahead of today.

The day before the strike got under way, a number of communications cables on Metrorail's Cape Flats network were sabotaged, disrupting trains. - Sapa

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