16 July 2019
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) and the United National Transport Union (UNTU) – the union federation’s affiliated union in the rail passenger transport sector – plan to shut down the running of commuter train across the country on 26 July 2019 in a National Day of Protest Action against extremely poor and dangerous Metrorail passenger trains services, that continue to violate all health and safety provisions as seen by perpetually late trains, deliberate acts of arson and endless fatal accidents that have left many families traumatised and burdened with disciplinary action; as a result of failed and stoic services that leave commuters helpless and frustrated daily. Ultimately the National Day of Protest is intended to force the Presidency to declare the passenger rail service crisis a National Disaster, in order to facilitate the deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) “army” to safeguard rail assets and help combat rampant railway crime.
The planned shutdown comes after FEDUSA was awarded a Section 77 Socio-Economic Strike Certificate in terms of Section 77 of the Labour Relations Act 1995 (Act 66 of 1995) by the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) after lengthy discussions and efforts to reach an amicable solution and a progressive way forward foundered.
In terms of this Award and the specific economic impact therefore, all workers and society at large across provinces can take part in the Protest March. Considering the nature of the S77 certificate, all workers across the provinces can take part in this Protest March without fear of victimisation by employers as long as they have a copy of the Certificate on their persons on the day of the March. Whilst FEDUSA and UNTU want to believe in the Ramaphosa dream as eloquently articulated during the second SONA address on 20 June 2019, the nightmare our members have to endure daily on bullet ridden trains forces us to abandon the hope of bullet trains right now.
In addition to the deployment of the army, FEDUSA and UNTU want the Department of Transport, the Passenger Rail Service of South Africa (Prasa) – the operators of Metrorail – the Railway Safety Regulator and the South African Police Services (SAPS) to take immediate remedial action including replacing old, broken or stolen infrastructure and equipment such as railway tracks, signalling equipment and unsafe and outdated train sets and to bring back a well resourced Railway Police.
For interviews please contact:
Masale Godfrey Selematsela
065 652 2832/083 653 3021
FEDUSA Acting General Secretary
079 696 2626
FEDUSA Media and Research Officer
072 637 8096