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MEC Vadi condemns intimidation by striking Gautrain workers

Workers affiliated to United Transport & Allied Trade Union went on strike after wage negotiations with Gautrain operator Bombela deadlocked on Saturday.

FILE: Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport, Ismail Vadi. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - The Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport Ismail Vadi has urged Bombela Operating Company (BOC) workers who have embarked on a strike action to act within the confinement of the law and refrain from any acts of criminality, intimidation or sabotage.

Gautrain has accused its striking workers of preventing buses from exiting the depot, causing delays to services in Centurion, Sandton and Park Station on Monday.

Workers affiliated to United Transport & Allied Trade Union (Untu) went on strike after wage negotiations with Gautrain operator Bombela deadlocked on Saturday.

Vadi said ‘’It has come to my attention that striking workers at the Gautrain depot today stopped buses from exiting the Gautrain depot. These buses were meant to accommodate certain passengers during peak times. This I’m told interfered with the contingency plan that was put in place by BOC to ensure that passengers are not too inconvenienced by this strike."

The MEC has apologised to passengers affected by the strike.

"I would like to remind the Gautrain’s striking workers that whilst I respect any worker’s right to strike, they must equally respect the law and be cognisant to the fact that their non-striking colleagues have a right to work without any intimidation. Acts of violence, criminality or damage to any public property will not be tolerated."

The transport union is demanding a 10% salary hike and to see Bombela's financial statements.

Bombela is offering 8.5%.

Untu says its members will remain on strike until Gautrain management makes what they call a more reasonable offer.

Untu's Steve Harris says: “We’re still available to be called should they be prepared to put a new offer that’s reasonable and that we can take to our constituency and the constituency will decide how long that they’re prepared to last out on this strike action.”

Meanwhile, Gautrain’s Kesagee Nayager says the contingency plan will remain in effect.

“We acknowledge that the strike has inconvenienced some passengers and the intent of the reduced service ensure that we accommodate as many people as possible. We apologise for the inconvenience to our passengers and we will continue to provide the best possible service given the limited resources.”