Rail strike went off track – Fedusa

2010-05-21 13:06

The commuter rail strike could have ended yesterday, the

Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) said today.

Fedusa general secretary Dennis George said the federation was

pleased to see the end of the pay dispute between the Passenger Rail Agency of

South Africa (Prasa) and the United Transport and Allied Trade Union


However, it was unhappy that Transnet had not allowed Utatu to put

pen to paper until the other union on strike had made a final decision on their


“The union was prepared to sign the wage agreement with Transnet yesterday afternoon at 4pm. However, Transnet refused, saying that the South

African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) had not received an

agreement from its members,” he said.

Utatu is the majority union at Transnet, so the strike could have

been over already, George said ahead of a meeting at 1pm between Transnet and

the unions.

They could have begun clearing backlogs, but instead, members had

lost another day’s pay.

They understood that Satawu needed to consult its workers first,

but also felt that the strike needed to end as soon as possible.

Utatu struck a deal with Prasa late yesterday, accepting a 10%

pay increase across the board, backdated to April 1.

It agreed on four months’ maternity leave for all employees on

active service at the time of the agreement.

It also agreed that if Prasa reached a more favourable deal with

Satawu, then that deal would also apply to the Utatu members.

Prasa runs the operations, personnel and assets of the South

African Rail Commuter Corporation, Metrorail, Intersite Property Management

Services, Shosholoza Meyl and long-distance bus company Autopax.

Satawu was given until Sunday to make a decision regarding the

Prasa dispute.

Satawu has decided not to communicate publicly on the matter until

after today’s meeting, but the last word from them was that they were holding

out for a 13% increase.

The strike at Transnet began with Satawu on May 10. Utatu joined

the next day.

Transnet employs 54 000 people. Satawu represents 39% of its

workers and Utatu 45%.

The Prasa strike began on May 17.

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