|March 30, 2006
Cosatu rails against Gautrain
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) is contemplating strike action against the Gautrain project, the provincial branch of the union federation has announced. Gauteng provincial secretary Siphiwe Mgcina explained that the project failed to tackle the most significant transport problems in the province. According to him, the process leading to possible strike action, through the National Economic Development and Labour Council, would first involve an attempt to bring together the Gauteng government and Cosatu for talks. If that failed, a national community strike would take place "anytime before July".
"That is why we're calling for a comprehensive project [to] benefit everybody who will be able to use that transport mode," said Mgcina. "The most important system we need is thus a mass transit from townships into cities, as part of an integrated development plan which would see townships themselves becoming economic hubs over the next 15 years."
He also stressed that the Cosatu alternative solution to the transport problem was that the government should utilise existing structures like Metrorail in Gauteng. Metrorail carriages must be upgraded, and safety on the trains "is key", said Mgcina.