8 Aug 2011

Strike hits prestigious train route

South Africa
Less than a week after the much anticipated Gautrain Pretoria to Johannesburg route was launched, Gautrain feeder service bus drivers are about to embark on a strike today.
Shop steward Vusi Ngobeni said the reason for embarking on a strike was low salaries and poor working conditions. “We have to arrive at our work stations by 4am and most of the drivers don’t have transport to get to work that early. When we asked the company for transport we were told it was not up to them to provide workers with transport to get to work,” said Ngobeni.
He said drivers from other companies earned much better salaries compared to what they we getting. According to Ngobeni, drivers earn just R4600 (£405) per month and they do not get a transport allowance. “They have not included family members on our medical aid. They are cheating us out of our benefits,” said Ngobeni.
A bus driver who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of being victimised said the timing of the strike so soon after the launch of the service was meant to maximise impact as people had responded well to the route. “If we don’t use this opportunity our grievances won’t be heard. We apologise for disruption but we also have children to feed and we can’t do that on a salary of less than R5000,” said the driver.

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