National 16.8.2016 08:50 am

Gautrain may soon come to a halt again

A strike at the Gautrain is looming again within days.

A strike at the Gautrain is looming again within days.

‘Bombela is not prepared to negotiate in good faith and that leaves Untu with no option but to ask our members to consider a strike’

A strike at the Gautrain is looming again within days, Kempton Express reports.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) will rule on Wednesday on a technical point Bombela, the operator of the Gautrain, relied on over the past few weeks in a desperate attempt to avoid a strike.

Steve Harris, general secretary of the United National Transport Union (Untu), is full of confidence that the CCMA will rule in the union’s favour. This means that the CCMA might issue Untu with a certificate that the ongoing dispute between the parties cannot be resolved.

According to a collective agreement between Untu and Bombela, the union needs this certificate before giving the employer 48 hours’ written notice of its intention to go on a strike after obtaining a mandate from its members.

Untu earlier declared a dispute against Bombela’s attempts to unilaterally short-change its “hard-working and hyper-efficient” employees.

The company started salary negotiations with an offer to pay a 3% salary increase when Untu demanded 15%. The gap had narrowed to a 9% vs 7.6% divide when negotiations deadlocked.

“Bombela is not prepared to negotiate in good faith and that leaves Untu with no option but to ask our members to consider a strike, even though it would have a more devastating effect on the already slow growing economy,” Harris said.

“The reality is that more and more commuters rely on the Gautrain due to the petrochemical strike by the Chemical Energy Paper Printing Wood and Allied Workers’ Union entering its fourth week.

A strike at the Gautrain now will have a devastating effect on commuters trying to get to work and back,” Harris added.

Bombela succeeded in delaying a possible strike when the company alleged that Untu had mysteriously “lost” more than 30 of its members since salary negotiations started in April.

The company ignored Untu’s demands that it should conduct a forensic audit to prove the allegation.

– Caxton News Service