The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has warned that it could go on strike as wage negotiations with Gautrain management stall.
Speaking to ENCA, Phakamile Hlubi-Majola, a spokesperson for the union, said that the two parties have agreed on an 8% wage increase; however, negotiations on other demands have deadlocked.
She said that Gautrain management is set to abolish staff cards. These cards are used to allow workers to use the train to and from work free of charge.
Management at the rail company is said to be seeking to eliminate this privilege. Numsa said that this does not make sense. According to Hlubi-Majola, the move forms part of the rail company’s cost-cutting measures.
“We find it completely unreasonable; transportation is not cheap and reliable. And given the work our workers do, it is bizarre management would come up with these proposals,” she said.
“It has become a sticking point; there is absolutely no way to sign this agreement…the benefits to using the card have been in place since 2013; what is exacerbating the situation is that they also want to abolish a housing allowance, enabling workers to gain access to home loans,” Hlubi-Majola said.
On the 28th of June, Numsa said that it would be balloting its members around a strike, and the group has requested a meeting.
NUMSA is the largest union in Gautrain, and if workers were to go on strike, the company’s operational capacity would take a massive blow.
As reported by News24, Kesagee Nayager, a spokesperson for Gautrain, said that the union had agreed to have three wage negotiation sittings but abandoned the negotiations following the second sitting.
The parties are set to meet again on 23 June, and both wish to proceed without protest action.