UPDATE: Gautrain wage protests hit Midrand depot

Gauteng, 27 January 2016 - Nine thousand more jobs will be created in Gauteng when a new rail project comes on stream in 2018. Gautrain is looking to buy additional rolling stock, build a new depot, and install additional signalling.

File: Workers have vowed to escalate protests after protracted wages negotiations have stalled.

JOHANNESBURG - Talks between the United National Transport Union (Untu) and Bombela Operating Company, the operator of the Gautrain, have deadlocked.

Gautrain workers demonstrated in full voice outside the Midrand depot on Monday.

Burning tyres were also seen at the depot and is alleged to have been started by the striking workers.

Untu on Wednesday rejected both offers tabled by Bombela and gave the company a 48-hour notice that their members will embark on a protected strike over wages on Monday if the dispute is not settled.

A contingency plan has been put into place.

Gautrain spokesperson Kesagee Nayager said they would operate a reduced Gautrain train service combined with a bus service.

The company had offered an increase of 7 percent across the board, 50 percent medical aid contribution, plus a collective bonus target of R8,000 per employee per year; or an increase of 8,5 percent across the board, plus a medical aid contribution of 55 percent but without a bonus.

Instead, Untu is demanding a 10 percent increase on the basic salary plus R1,600 for a housing allowance, an increase from R31,84 to R64 per shift on night work, a transport subsidy, plus a medical aid contribution split 55/45 between employer and workers, and a R20,000 incentive bonus per employee per year.