Parastatals lash out at ‘upstart’ transport union

2013-01-20 10:00

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The Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) has accused the ­National Transport Movement (NTM) of trying to get recognition through a strike.

The union, through its representative at the rail and bus transport utility and national carrier SAA, took up a strike that could have potentially derailed the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), which began yesterday in Johannesburg.

The NTM is a recently established union with no affiliation to the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu).

Last week, a report by a commissioner of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), made available to SAA on December 31, showed that the NTM had not met the minimum threshold to be recognised as a legitimate workers’ voice by the national carrier.

A statement released by SAA read: “The (CCMA) commissioner confirmed in his report that the union has 1?111 members at SAA, and needs to have at least 1?220 to meet (the requirement of having) 30% of the 4?065 employees who are part of the bargaining unit.

“This therefore confirmed that the NTM failed to meet the 30% threshold. This is why the NTM remains unrecognised at SAA.”

Prasa spokesperson Moffet Mofokeng said the NTM needed to go through the right labour pathways.

“The NTM is not recognised by Prasa and they have to make up the requirements of the law, which is 30% of Prasa’s employees, in order for us to recognise them,” Mofokeng told City Press. “We are not opposed to a union and any Prasa employee is entitled to join a union of their choice as it is their democratic right.”

In the case where a major strike could have occurred, Mofokeng said the strike did not have an impact on services and he did not think it would do so at any stage.

“The transport plan we have in place is comprehensive enough to withstand any eventualities that might occur,” Mofokeng said.

Sipho Sithole, chief communications officer with the Afcon local organising committee, said: “I’m not aware of any strike, so I cannot comment.”

SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said the NTM strike did not affect their services. He added the number of employees affiliated to it were not enough to legally constitute a union.

“The NTM relies on a claim its membership is more than 1?300. Their membership is inclusive of employee categories that are not provided for in the bargaining forum constitution.”

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