The Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) today threatened to take the Gautrain operator to the Constitutional Court for allegedly refusing to disclose its financial statements.
This comes as the two-week strike by Gautrain workers ended today after a majority of workers accepted a one-year wage offer of an eight percent salary increment made by the Bombela Concession Company, the operator of the high-speed commuter rail system.
Dennis George, secretary general of Fedusa, said that it was “constitutionally unfair” for Bombela to not disclose its financials during wage negotiations for unions to see how much was being made by the Gautrain and make necessary demands.
Speaking outside the Gautrain depot in Midrand, George said that Bombela was being disingenuous for arguing that it was prevented from releasing its financial statements by the agreements it has with financial institutions and other social partners.
“We know that in any company, audited financial statements is an important document and we have the right to study the document, and on the basis of that document we can formulate our demands. We also have the right to see how much management are getting from these deals and how much they pay workers at the lowest bottom of the company,” George said.
“So if a company is bargaining in bad faith, where they don’t want to give us the audited financial statements, that puts a hand behind our back and tie us down. So we don’t know exactly how much profits are being made. That is the reason why we are prepared to take it to the Constitutional Court because it is critical for us to respect the rights of workers.”
Gautrain spokesperson Kesagee Nayager said that Bombela had no obligation to make its financial statement public as it is a private company, adding that the company respects the law of the country and “will comply fully with the requirements of the law” if the matter went to court.
“It is also important to point out that [trade union United National Transport Union] Untu only requested the company’s financial statement during the final round of mediated negotiations that took place on Friday, 27 July 2018 – after the strike notice was already issued,” Nayager said.
“This indicates that the Untu’s allegation that it embarked on strike action because the company refused to avail its financial statements is in fact untrue and merely a tactic to justify the reason for the strike, which ultimately was for an unrealistic and unreasonable demand.”
Meanwhile, Gauteng transport member of the executive council (MEC) Ismail Vadi has welcomed the wage agreement reached between Bombela and Untu to end the two-week strike, saying that the provincial government hopes the situation soon normalises.
– African News Agency (ANA)