Union 'ready to make concessions'

2010-05-17 11:16

Cape Town - Satawu says it is in full support of continued negotiations between itself and Prasa to end the Metrorail strike, and would consider making concessions to its demands.

Satawu's Lubabalo Tinzi said they were still to be informed about the time and venue of a meeting between unions and the Passenger Rail Agency South Africa (Prasa) on Monday.

"We are forced by the principles of negotiation to consider concessions. You give and you take," he said.

He stressed however that any concessions would have to be endorsed by the union's members first.

Trains running 'on Wednesday or Thursday'

The union maintains its demand of a 15% wage increase across the board and other conditions including a cap on overtime allowances. The employer is offering 5% across the board and 3% in compliance with the basic conditions of employment act.

Meanwhile, commuters will have to wait until at least later this week for trains to start running, says Prasa CEO Tumisang Kgaboesele.

Kgaboesele said the parent company of Metrorail would be meeting at the CCMA with striking transport unions Satawu and Utatu for further talks after a meeting on Saturday with government.

"We make a joint undertaking to government not to allow the strike beyond Wednesday," said Kgaboesele.

Should talks be successful, trains will start running "on Wednesday or Thursday the earliest", he said. He added that although an agreement might be reached before then, consultation between workers and unions could take "some time".


Meanwhile minibus taxi and bus queues in Cape Town were winding down by late morning on Monday after morning rush hour brought larger than usual numbers to taxi ranks around the city.

"We are coping with the strike. We have got the capacity," said Mitchells Plain Taxi Forum's Nazeem Abdurahman.

Golden Arrow general manager Francois Meyer said the Western Cape bus company would extend its peak operation hours, with about 1 000 buses operating, "until we've moved all the people".

He said although they had had a "fairly busy morning", they had "cleared the queues by 09:00".

Bus company Putco's Raphiri Matsaneng said stranded train commuters were likely to be discouraged from using their buses because their buses were already "oversubscribed" and no extra buses had been scheduled.

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