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Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) accidentally paid most of its employees twice in January due to an error that occurred while switching to new bankers.
While TFR would not comment on what it described as "a confidential matter", insiders were adamant that the fault was quickly rectified and, in most cases, rescinded. If this had not happened, the money would be taken from employees' February salaries.
But trade unions, who met with management on Wednesday, said on Thursday that this was not the agreement reached and that workers could repay the money in instalments over the calendar year by arrangement with their human resource managers, implying there would be some costs that TFR would have to carry beyond March 2023.
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TFR has 26 000 employees and a monthly wage bill of over R1 billion. Employees who banked with FNB and RMB were not affected. The company has looming financial difficulties due to falling revenue and volumes.
In a letter to members of the United National Transport Union (UNTU), general secretary Cobus van Vuuren said:
General secretary of Satawu Jack Mazibuko agreed with this interpretation. He said that employees would definitely receive their full February salary and could either sell their leave days or repay the money in instalments.