The United National Transport Union (UNTU) got confirmation through its affiliated federation, the Federation of Trade Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) that the Ministry of Transport confirmed to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) Transport Sub-Committee that it is assisting to find solutions to the ongoing transport crisis at the highest level.
Lawrence Venkile, special advisor to the Ministry of Transport, informed the committee that action was taken on FEDUSA’s request for Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula to assist.
They have been involved in discussions to guide officials of the department on the provincial level.
Steve Harris, General Secretary of UNTU, says the Union is grateful to both the Minister of Transport and the Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan who immediately responded to FEDUSA’s call for assistance.
“The safety of workers comes first. The employer has an obligation to ensure that public transport is available and cannot be held ransom by any parties who resorts to criminal action to force its hand,” says Harris.
UNTU appeal to Police Minister Bheki Cele to follow the example of his colleagues and take swift action to ensure that a special task team is deployed to find the culprits and put them behind bars.
To date there have been eight incidents where Transnet transportation used to commute workers to and from work where they have been shot at, but no arrests have been made to date.
Transnet responded by suspending the transport and forcing workers to make their own transportation arrangement. The nearest taxi drop-off point from the gate of the Port is 8 km away.
Harris informed Transnet Port Chief Executive (CE), Mr Velile Dube, that the Union would have no option, but to approach the Courts for relief if the Employer does not rectify the arrangement immediately as the employer cannot pass its obligation in terms of the Basic Condition of Employment Act on the employees.
UNTU will keep its members updated on any new developments.
Issued on behalf of UNTU by Sonja Carstens, Media, Liaison and Communication Officer. For UNTU press statements phone Sonja on 082 463 6806 or e-mail email@example.com.