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Gauteng Transport MEC pleased as talks resume over Gautrain wage strike

Gauteng’s MEC for Transport and Logistics, Kedibone Diale-Tlabela, has expressed approval of the Bombela Operating Company (BOC) and the National Union of Metal workers of South Africa (Numsa) returning to negotiations amid the ongoing wage increase strike.

This comes after the workers of BOC together with the management of a trade union, Numsa, embarked on a strike on Monday, demanding a revised 9% wage increase,.

They initially demanded 15% wage increase.

The trade union further demanded medical aid provision of 60%, alongside a monthly housing allowance of R2,000.

Diale-Tlabela expressed hope that returning to the negotiating table would lead to adopting a productive approach.

“This will balance the interests of the workers against the long-term stability and sustainability of the Gautrain,” she said.

The BOC assured passengers that Gautrain services will remain uninterrupted amid the ongoing strike.

“The Bombela Operating Company has moved quickly to implement contingency plans to ensure Gautrain services operate according to schedule while union members are engaged in the industrial action,” the company said.

Diale-Tlabela further said that as the Gauteng provincial government and owner of the Gautrain system, their plea is for the two parties to quickly reach a resolution to the deadlock.

“We believe that such differences can only be resolved in talks, given that the end result of an industrial action usually has unpleasant consequences for all parties involved,” she said.

“To commuters, even though Gautrain services have not been disrupted by the strike, we appreciate that news of industrial action can justifiably make you feel anxious and uncertain about the reliability of the service.”

She said they are committed to continue in urging the management of BOC and Numsa to find a speedy resolution to the wage dispute.

Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola claimed that employees are treated unfairly by their employer, as they work extra hours but are not paid for overtime. They are therefore demanding overtime remuneration and a 13th cheque.

“The BOC was initially a five-day operation and then it changed to a six-day operation without compensating workers for the extra work. Workers have not been paid for these additional hours, and we are demanding they must be compensated, going forward, they must be paid the overtime rate for the sixth day.

“The BOC does not treat workers equally. The bosses at BOC reward themselves and office workers with R22,000 each as a bonus, but blue-collar workers are denied a guaranteed bonus. They have an incentive bonus which requires that the applicant must be paid first in order to be paid. This is unfair and we demand equal treatment for all workers,” said Hlubi-Majola.

Dr Kesagee Nayager Gautrain Bombela Concession Company spokesperson said Bombela has been advised by BOC that “BOC and NUMSA have agreed to mediation by the CCMA”.

“We hope that an agreement may be reached between the two parties. In the meantime, Gautrain services remain unaffected by the strike at BOC”.

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