The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) increased its wage offer to Labour with R51 million to 7% this afternoon, but indicated that it is unavoidable that job losses at the passenger rail operator will follow.
Lindikhaya Zide, the Acting Group Chief Executive Officer of Prasa, intervened at the deadlock in wage negotiations this morning and addressed Labour to try to avoid a national strike of its employees. He believes it is not in the interest of the company or its employees to embark on industrial action.
This comes after the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), issued a certificate of non-resolution in the wage dispute last week. This enables Labour to embark on a protected strike within 48 hours.
Zide emphasized that Prasa has a budget deficit of R1,8 billion. Prasa’s final offer of 6% was an increase of R306 million in the budget. The further 1% he added today, is another R51 million to the budget.
But this increase comes with a price of unavoidable rationalization of Prasa’s workforce to follow. The current wage bill is already 64% of Prasa expenditure. These figures exclude the payment of overtime.
Steve Harris, General Secretary of the United National Transport Union (UNTU), stated that UNTU’s members have mandated the Union to accept nothing less than a double-digit increase.
“However, considering the facts that was disclosed to UNTU for the first time today, we want to confirm that as a responsible Union our doors are not closed for further interaction. The Union has embarked on its Constitutional process to obtain a strike ballot from its members.”
Zide undertook to go back to the Board of Prasa and review his current mandate.
Issued by Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa