Nationwide Strike Looms at Prasa
15 March 2017
The threat of a potential strike is looming at embattled Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) and could cripple its operations and bring rail passenger transport to a halt across the country if the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) fails to resolve a wage dispute that has been referred to it by the United National Transport Union (UNTU), a Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) affiliate in the rail transport sector.
FEDUSA fully supports UNTU’s decision to refer the dispute to the CCMA for conciliation after the latter’s members rejected Prasa’s wage offer increase from 3 % to 4.5 % on condition that UNTU lowers its demands from 20% to 12 %. UNTU is also demanding increases in their medical aid, night shift, book off and standby allowances with effect from 1 April 2017.
“We believe that millions of rands that are being wasted on a daily basis on irregular and fruitless expenditure by Prasa management could be used to pay decent salaries and other benefits for UNTU members,” said FEDUSA General Secretary Dennis George.
George’s sentiments have been corroborated by UNTU General Secretary Steve Harris.
“UNTU’s members are gatvol. They are demanding a double-digit salary increase from 1 April irrespective of the dire state of Prasa and the predictions of what wage increases should be, due to the grim global economic forecast. Our members are angry. Over the past year, the management of the passenger rail services ignored their pleas,” Harris said.
“They were betrayed by their employer. After Prasa management signed a collective agreement that gave UNTU members better benefits in the workplace, the state-owned enterprise (SOE) refused to implement it. The result is that UNTU member bear the brunt because the Union had to apply to the Labour Court in Johannesburg for a court order to force Prasa to comply.
On another front Prasa is facing a tough legal battle after its former Board Chairman Popo Molefe filed court papers to oppose the dissolution of his Board and the appointment of an interim one by Transport Minister Dipuo Peters.
FEDUSA Media and Research Officer
Cell: 060 676 9145
UNTU General Secretary
Cell: 082 566 5516