Over the past two weeks, the United National Transport Union (UNTU) has been inundated with phone calls and e-mails from employees of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) about the voluntary severance packages their Employer plans to offer.

This was worsened by a confidential document on the VSP’s of Prasa’s Executive that has found its way to employees and was send to the Union.

Steve Harris, General Secretary of UNTU, confirms the Union had its first consultation with Prasa about this possibility on 7 May 2020.

Prasa then indicated that they had applied to national treasury for money to pay the packages, they wanted to save 10% of the total wage bill and they wanted to retain critical employees.

Prasa could not indicate to UNTU why they are only targeting employees between the ages of 55 to 60, who do they see as critical employees, what is the package on offer and how much money do they need to save.

UNTU submitted a list of 17 questions.

UNTU wanted a response before further talks resume. This list was submitted to Prasa on Saturday. Since then, UNTU received no feedback of any response.

“The preservation of jobs is always the main priority of any trade union. Hence proper consultation with UNTU is required so that the leadership of the Union can guide affected employees correctly to make the most beneficial decision for their unique needs.

“As always UNTU will continue to keep our members informed on any developments,” says Harris.

UNTU members in Prasa are also asking when they will receive their annual wage increase.

Harris says organised labour presented their demand for a 12% increase on the total cost to company packages. Prasa has not yet responded with an offer.

The negotiations will resume as soon as possible after the majority of Prasa employees is back at work.


Issued on behalf of UNTU by Sonja Carstens, Deputy-General Secretary: Media, Liaison and Communication.

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