The Leadership of the United National Transport Union (UNTU) today held a virtual meeting with representatives of Transnet Group to discuss areas of concern in combatting the spreading of the global COVID-19 pandemic under the COVID-19 Level 4 Lockdown Regulations.
COVID-19 RELATED DEATH
The parties extended their sincerest condolences to the loved ones and colleagues of the Transnet employee who passed-on after testing positive for COVID-19. May his soul rest in peace.
The Leadership of UNTU where assured that this employee did not get infected at work. He was at home since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown on 26 March 2020 and did not return to work.
To date another eight Transnet employees have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. One has recovered. The Leadership of UNTU pray for their speedy recovery of the six patients.
Transnet has assisted with tracing all the employees the infected individuals might have had contact with, and they have been tested in accordance with the COVID-19 protocol. So far 674 Transnet employees have been tested for the virus.
UNTU appeals to all our members to adhere to Government’s Regulations for LEVEL 4. These regulations are implemented to combat the spreading of COVID-19 and to try and avoid the transmission of the virus.
To date more than 3,9 million people in 210 countries all over the world where infected with COVID-19. Although 1,3 million recovered from the virus, almost 272 000 people lost their lives.
UNTU has always been of the view that one life lost is one to many and the Union appeal to everyone to continue wearing facial masks, washing their hands with soap and water and adhere to social distancing to protect themselves.
If employees feel that they need any psychosocial support during this exceedingly difficult time, please remember that the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is available to all and can be contacted on 0800 000408.
In accordance with Government’s regulations it is compulsory for everyone to wear facial masks when leaving their homes.
Transnet has issued employees with two surgical or cloth masks do date. The Employer confirmed today that it received its first delivery of the cloth masks and are busy distributing. The second delivery is expected today.
Transnet reviewed its decision to provide each employee with two washable cloth facial masks. To assist employees, Transnet decided that each employee will be issued with five cloth facial masks. These masks will be distributed as soon as stock is available in the weeks to come.
TRANSPORT TO AND FROM WORK
To date Transnet has been responsible to provide employees who needs to report to work, with transportation since public transport is not as readily available. Transnet informed UNTU today that the Employer wish to gradually start withdrawing the transport
and that employees will have to provide their own transport. This is due to the increase of available public transport.
UNTU objected to this and the parties still need to engage on this at the next meeting. The
Leadership is of the view that Transnet employees will be more exposed to possible transmissions of the virus if they must use public transport to travel to and from work. This would also endanger all the other employees who is working in the same environment, irrespective who is using public transport or not.
It is of utmost importance to the Leadership of UNTU to ensure that the risk to Transnet employees is kept as low as possible at all times as the COVID-19 infection rate is surging in South Africa at a rate of more than 400 new infections per day.
The parties will meet again on 14 May 2020.