19 November 2020
SATAWU (South African Transport and Allied Workers Union) members at PRASA (Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa) have been subjected to all forms of abuse and harassment in the last four weeks. The PRASA EXCO had been wishy-washy on how and when the back pay from 01 April 2020, as well as the Annual General Increase, will be paid. After intensive Salary Negotiations with PRASA for a period of two months (August and September 2020), the parties agreed for a 5% ATB (Across the Board) on TGP (Total Guaranteed Package) multi-year agreement between 01 April 2020 to 31 March 2023.
SATAWU had been reluctant to put its signature on a dotted line because the content of the agreement didn’t worth the paper written on. The reason for this is that PRASA was not committing on when it will implement the 6 months back pay. It was also undermining the hard-won right of the workers to embark on legal and protected strike action. Moreover, it was silent on how to best approach the question of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in an event that the aforementioned would be more than 5% in any of the remaining two years. PRASA EXCO turned a blind eye and deaf ears to all clarity seeking questions from SATAWU in this regard. SATAWU was notified that this type of abuse and harassment was well orchestrated and informed by malicious intent as it sought to attack and undermine existing Collective Bargaining Rights of employees. SATAWU is seeking a legal opinion on how best to arrest this carnage.
SATAWU is equally disturbed by the collaborative approach between PRASA and Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) that seeks to compromise employees and citizens of the country. The latter two have allowed Main Line Passenger Services (MLPS) to provide Long Distance Train Services from 27 November 2020 to various Regions in South Africa despite teething infrastructural and operational challenges. The poor and/or lack of infrastructure will culminate to Manual Authorisation, Stations and Facilities that have been vandalised, furthermore, this remains a serious concern that needs to be attended to with immediate effect. A follow-up meeting between PRASA and SATAWU is scheduled for 23 November 2020. The union expects that PRASA will commit that all infrastructural challenges including the use of diesel and electric locomotives will not expose its members and commuters to any form of risk. SATAWU also demands that RSR should embark on an Inspection Programme 5 days before Service Resumption. Finally, a strong-worded communique will be written to Minister of Transport MP Fikile Mbalula demanding an urgent meeting in this regard. A comprehensive report will be circulated to our members after achieving the said objectives.
Issued by: South African Transport & Allied Workers Union
For more information, contact
SATAWU General Secretary: Jack Mazibuko: 082 660 4793
SATAWU Deputy General Secretary: Anele Kiet: 071 021 1903
SATAWU PRASA National Sector Coordinator: Lubabalo Tinzi: 082 473 2626