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South Africa’s high-speed train workers strike, services reduced


JOHANNESBURG  –     Workers at South Africa’s high-speed Gautrain went on strike over pay on Monday affecting services to the country’s main airport, the capital Pretoria and commercial hub Johannesburg that caters for business commuters.

The Bombela Operating Company, which operates the rapid train and bus system in Gauteng province where the two cities are located, said wage talks with the United National Transport Union (UNTU) had deadlocked.

The company said that due to the strike it would not operate train services during off-peak hours and warned of delays.

The Gautrain was first unveiled in 2010 as part of transport upgrades in Africa’s most industrialised economy. The Gautrain links those arriving at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport to city’s the financial district of Sandton.

The unionised workers are demanding a 10 percent increase in wages, while the company is offering an 8.5 percent increment.

UNTU General Secretary Steve Harris said the union was open to further talks. He said the parties also needed to agree on night shift and housing allowances, among other things.

“We deadlocked on Saturday and they haven’t called us back to the table. We are on strike until they call us back,” Harris said. (Reuters)

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