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04, Jul 2020 -

Organized labour proposal on Transport for Workers

Organized labour proposal on Transport for Workers

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Economic recovery in the context of covid-19 require that specific sectors of the economy begin to operate while containing the spread of the covid-19 virus at the level of the workplace.  The covid-19 occupational health and safety directive sets the minimum standards required to contain the spread of the virus, while public transport poses a challenge to the containment of the corona virus.

Problem Statement
Public transport in the phasing out of the shutdown will experience increased pressure. Trains are overcrowded, ticketing systems are inadequate, entry and exit points lack monitoring which frustrate the process of tracking and tracing and increase the possibility of infection. The taxi industry is partially regulated, unscheduled and passenger details are unknown. The majority of commuters traveling on public transport are workers making their way from the townships and squatter camps to the city. Phasing out the lockdown and subjecting workers to the congested public transport system will reverse the gains of the lockdown and result in a peak in infections much earlier than anticipated.

Face cloths and public transport
The Department of Health (DoH) recommends the use of facemasks by members of the general public during the covid-19 pandemic. The department recommends that everyone in South Africa should wear a mask in public. Commuters travelling in taxis and other forms of public transport are particularly encouraged to wear cloth masks. The benefit of this advice is to reduce the spread of the virus. The virus can be effectively contained if all who make use of public transport adhere the recommendations of the DoH. This will be impossible to implement in a taxi industry that is relatively unregulated and a train system that is congested.

Proposed Solution
To remove workers from the public transport system and alleviate the pressure on the system, organized labour proposes that employers provide transport for workers to and from work. Workers and employers can enter into an agreement which will see workers and employers contributing towards the cost of transport. Workers contributions are capped at workers current transport costs.  This proposal does not include nor alter any existing transportation agreements between the employer and workers.

Collaboration with the Taxi Associations
Employers must come to an arrangement with taxi operators to make use of their vehicles as shuttle serves at fixed fees and under strict rules. Employers must conclude an agreement with the taxi associations for taxis to operate subject to very strict rules and hygiene regulations. 

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