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Monday, 08 July 2024 11:50

Gautrain commuters not affected by NUMSA strike - BOC.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The operator of the Gautrain, Bombela Operating Company (BOC), says it is business as usual for commuters despite workers affiliated with the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) have embarked on an indefinite strike after wage talks deadlocked.

In July 2023, Numsa signed a one-year wage deal, which expired last month.

Numsa is demanding a 13% wage increase for all employees. The inflation rate in April and May was 5.2%.

Numsa, the country's largest union with more than 450,000 members, gave the management of BOC a 48-hour strike notice.

However, Gautrain spokesperson Kesagee Nayager said train services are continuing as normal.

"The BOC has implemented contingency plans to ensure that Gautrain customers are not adversely affected by the planned strike. Numsa members announced their plans to embark on a protected strike from Monday due to an impasse regarding wage negotiations. We will keep customers updated in this regard."

Numsa is also demanding that Bombela cover 60% of employees' medical aid costs and increase the housing allowance to R2,000 a month.

Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said wage talks began on 17 April.

"We have had two rounds of talks. Our last meeting was on the 11th of June which is when we deadlocked with the employer. We are the majority union with sole negotiating power at Gautrain.

"The bosses refuse to meet our demands and this has led to workers resorting to strike action. It is an indefinite strike until the demands are met," Hlubi-Majola said.

In June, Gautrain marked 14 years of operation. Its network includes 10 stations that connect Johannesburg, Pretoria, Ekurhuleni and OR Tambo International Airport, 96 rail cars, a fleet of 125 heavy haul buses and 29 minibuses.

Tshepo Kgobe, the chief executive of the Gautrain Management Agency, estimated its value at  R45 billion and that 245 000 jobs have been created. 

The concession agreement between the Gauteng government and the BOC comes to an end in 2026. The Gautrain Management Agency has started inviting bids for the next concessionaire, according to a statement published on its website