The recent string of arson attacks on the Metrorail infrastructure has slowed down the railway service causing delays and has left commuters stranded.
Members of the Congress of South African Trade Union (COSATU) met with the provincial director of Metrorail on April 26 to address some of the issues that were raised as a result of the continued delays.
VOC spoke to the regional secretary of COSATU for the Western Cape, Tony Ehrenreich, who gave feedback on the conference.
Ehrenreich explained that before the arson attacks began, Metrorail was already struggling to maintain its services.
The long-term challenges include the fact that trains are old and are not adequately maintained.
The under investment of government at a National level to ensure that there is a better train service to transport people to and from work and weekends for leisure purposes led to the situation of people losing money after having already purchased a train ticket but ended up taking alternative means of transport.
“Whoever is responsible for damaging the trains, those perpetrators must be found and they must feel the harsh effect of the law,” Ehrenreich stated.
The impact of the damages has had far reaching consequences for employees who have been forced to forgo percentages of their salaries as a result of them being late for work and in some cases workers were subjected to disciplinary action.
“Workers were unable to use the trains effectively and were losing money because they got to work late.”
One of the issues that was raised was the fact that employers are not permitted to take action against their workers who arrive late at work as a result of Metrorail delays.
Ehrenreich further noted that these issues were discussed at the meeting with the Cape Town Chamber Of Commerce and Metrorail officials who were present.
“We have pledged to work with Metrorail to address the challenges and work on improving the services,” Ehrenreich concluded.
VOC (Qanita Satardien)