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Transnet strike leaves commuters stranded

By Staff Writer
South African commuters were left stranded on Monday morning as the strike by Transnet rolled forth and not a single train was in operation leaving as many as 2.9 million commuter stranded.

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), the controlling company of Metrorail and Shosholoza Meyl , warned on Sunday that commuters would have to make alternative arrangements because all its services will be suspended on Monday.

Prasa employs about 18 000 in total, with 800 people working for the Meyl and as many as 10 000 at Metrorail.

The strike has been going on for a week with the unions are demanding increases of 15%. The two parties have been locked in negotiation since March and, with only a few weeks to go until the World Cup senior manager at Prasa, Tony Gamef is concerned.

"The unions' timing is questionable. There is still no clarity as to when the strikes will end," Gamef said.
Satawu senior spokesperson, Jane Barrett however insists that there is motive behind the strikes.

"There are agreements with employers in terms of which wage negotiations start in March every year. If the negotiations are not concluded by April, a dispute is declared. If the dispute is not resolved, strikes follow," Barrett said.

"It was unfortunate that the World Cup was around the corner, but that was simply a coincidence," she added.
Tinzi Lubabalo, a spokesperson for Satatwu, said that the union's demands were not farfetched.

He believes that the increases are easily affordable since, according to him, labour costs amounts to less than 34%.

"The company was also subsidised by the state. Prasa has no grounds to say it could not afford the increases," said Lubabalo.

Transnet meanwhile revealed that the damage caused to its trains and infrastructure by strikers has already amounted to R24m.

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