The United National Transport Union (UNTU) would like to appeal to commuters to boycott the Gautrain and support its friendly employees who are entering their fourth day of no pay on 2 August 2018 as they continue with the #GautrainStrike.
To date the Bombela Operating Company (BOC) has tried every trick in the book to put its employees in a bad light by misleading the public with allegations that UNTU members are demanding a 19% increase, are intimidating employees and preventing Gautrain buses from leaving its depot while negotiations are “continuing”.
“It must be the arrogance of the French Concessionaire to whom BOC profits are paid or the several French managers of BOC headed by its Chief Executive Officer Arnaud Legrand, but the company has not attempted to resolve the deadlock in wage negotiations since Saturday, 28 July 2018,” says Steve Harris, General Secretary of UNTU.
Harris says according to a so-called “secret contract” the Bombela Concessionaire will receive all the profits of Gauteng’s first Rapid Rail System, @TheGautrain, for 15 years. BOC is saying in terms of this “secret contract” with the French Concessionaire it cannot disclose its financial statements.
“By refusing to do so, BOC and its French Concessionaire ignores the terms of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) Section 16.
“In terms of this section employers have a duty to disclose any information, to Trade Union Representatives, that will allow them to carry out their Trade Union duties and bargain effectively. This includes financial statements,” says Harris.
However, BOC continued today with is campaign of being evasive with the truth by responding to #UNTU’s attorney to indicate that the Unions representatives have never before requested the financial statements.
“UNTU’s negotiation team requested the statements on 3 May 2018 for the first time in a meeting during which #UNTU Deputy General Secretaries Sonja Carstens and Pieter Greyling took minutes. During that meeting, Legrand refused to put his money where his mouth is by supplying the Union with the financial statements but indicated that BOC had money to pay incentives to its employees if he could be convinced that they were entitled to it.
“In future #UNTU will have to record every meeting with BOC for the protection of our 350 #UNTU members, more than 90% of the employees operating the Gautrain,” says Harris.
The past three days has been tough on the striking members who resorted to sleeping in their cars outside the gates of Mega Express, operator of the Gautrain buses, as they are not allowed to be more or less than 100 m from the BOC Midrand Depot.
Harris says the members are bearing the brunt, but BOC seems to forget that sleeping in a car is not unusual for them.
“When the latest shift knocks off at 23:15, there is no public transport available. For those who cannot afford to own a car, the only option is to sleep in the Containers which is utilised as their rest rooms.” (See photos attached).
On Thursday 2 August BOC is adamant to continue with its urgent application for interdicting #UNTU members, but at least with the help of their legal representatives had the wisdom to reach a settlement agreement which the Union whose members have been consistently accused of “intimidating” other employees, without any proof being provided.
“UNTU had no objection in agreement to the Draft Agreement (Find Attached) to be made an order of the Court as our members have adjured to it from the start of the strike,” says Harris.
Bombela is offering UNTU members an 8.5% salary increase across the board but does not want to pay employees an incentive bonus.
UNTU is demanding the following based on the current global economic recession which has a devastating impact on the daily lives of all our members:
Basic Salary 10%
Housing Allowance R1600
Transport Allowance R800 or Staff card usage for Office workers
NWTS R64 per shift
Night Shift Allowance To be increase by 10%
Medical Aid Contribution 55 employer / 45 employee
Incentive Bonuses R20 000 for all employees.
For more information phone Harris on 082 566 5516.
Carstens will be present at the strike for soundbites and interviews.
Issued on behalf of the UNTU by Sonja Carstens, Media, Liaison and Communication Officer. For UNTU Press Statement phone 082 463 6806 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.