Today's Labour News

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metrorail thumb medium90 92The New Age writes that driving on SA’s rail tracks is a ride to hell for many of the country’s train drivers.  

A 10 minute delay during peak hour could mean two things, namely drivers being forced at gunpoint or with a knife to detour from the planned route or being brutally attacked if they refused.  “Train hijacking” is becoming a significant contributor to railway mishaps in Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.  On Monday, a female train driver had a narrow escape from an angry group who tried to force her to detour from her route.  She was saved by commuters.  Metrorail spokesperson Thabile Kunene said:  “In the past year we’ve had about seven incidents where drivers were forced to take a detour…  For the safety of the drivers we had to agree to the commuters’ demands and diverted the trains.”  On Tuesday, the United National Transport Union (Untu), which represents the majority of train drivers, told a media briefing the situation was “a ticking time bomb” which could lead to mass deaths should there be a miscommunication between the driver and control room.  President of the United Commuters Voice, Zwabesho Shange, said the rise of train hijacking was born out of frustration as a result of poor service and communication on the side of Prasa.  On Tuesday, Prasa admitted it was faced with the challenge of train hijackings and said the attacks on its staff would eventually leave it with no choice but to cancel services on dangerous rail corridors.

  • Read this report by Ntombi Nkosi, Dikeledi Molobela, Sibongiseni Maphumulo and Vincent Cruywagen in full at The New Age

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