The sector is focuses on the two established Passenger Rail organisations i.e Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) and Gautrain. Both are State Owned Entities (SOEs) although Gautrain only operates in the Gauteng Province while PRASA has a national footprint. Gautrain employees are members of a different union, a situation that hampers the establishment of a Passenger Rail Bargaining Council since Transnet, which focuses on Freight Rail and other subsidiaries, has an in-house Bargaining Council.
SATAWU remains the majority union within PRASA with paid up membership of 49,9% with the density of its membership in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Cape Town and Eastern Cape.
National Activities of SATAWU within Prasa
SATAWU uses internal communication processes to influence other strategic stakeholders to pursue the Health and Safety agenda for the benefit workers within PRASA. Reports in relation to the Health and Safety Strategy for both Corporate and Divisional level are available. Occupational Health and Safety Standards in PRASA remain one of our priorities and as a result Health and Safety Committees are in place although more still needs to be done. For instance, Health and Safety Committees are still confronted with a few challenges including failure by the employer to provide uniform clothing and PPE. The employer still has not established a National Committee that will deal with the details.
While rail is still largely a male-dominated industry, SATAWU continues to make strides in ensuring that gender struggles are pursued at workplace level and actively promotes the participation of women in both Company and Union structures and in decision making. Gender issues find expression in all structures of the organisation although more still more to be done.
Training programmes within Prasa take place through Training and Development. We encourage our members to take advantage of every opportunity by ensuring that they submit their Individual Development Programmes (IDP) to enable them to attain relevant skills for the work they perform on daily basis. There are also specific programmes that are run by SATAWU’s Education Department, these range from Basic Shopstewards Training to Advanced Skills Training depending on need analysis conducted by the union in consultation with members. A number of PRASA shopstewards from various divisions have benefitted from these programmes at all levels of the organisation.
SATAWU negotiates Salaries and Conditions of Service with the employer via the Prasa Bargaining Forum. The Bargaining Forum regulates the relationship between the parties and the process is guided by a ConstituAll. Prasa employees are expected to get a general increase on 01 April annually. The three-year agreement is available on request. SATAWU clinched a three-year agreement starting in 2014 for the first time in the history of the relationship. It is through this relationship that several victories, for example, four-months paid maternity leave for women. The parties have also agreed that no employee must earn less than R60 000 (Sixty Thousand Rands) per annum on a Total Guaranteed Package (TGP).
ENGAGEMENT OF PRASA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE (EXCO) SATAWU will be engaging PRASA in relation to its Corporate Strategy as this will give a direction on whether they are going forward in implementing the Mo29dernisation Programme. SATAWU position in relation to the modernization is clear as in our view it must not lead to job losses and it must be in line with Public Transport Policy which put emphasis on access, affordability, reliable, safe, flexibility and integration in passenger rail in particular.
COMPLIANCE WITH THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT SIGNED ON APRIL 2016
The parties are engaging each other as a way of finding a solution to the impasse.
MANDATE SEEKING PROCESS that will culminate to 2017/18 Salary Negotiations through Depot General Meetings is taking place. It is clear from our point of view that these negotiations will be tough given some of the pronouncements that had been made by leadership.