All smi­les as bus ser­vi­ce re­su­mes

George Herald - - News -

My­ron Ra­bi­no­witz

Two days af­ter the of­fi­ci­al end of the na­ti­o­nal bus stri­ke, GO GE­OR­GE bu­ses we­re back on the ro­ad. The first bus left the de­pot in York S­treet at 04:30 on Wed­nes­day 16 May to start its rou­te, much to the re­lief of com­mu­ters who bo­re the brunt of the al­most month-long stri­ke acti­on for bet­ter wa­ges. The­re was a sig­ni­fi­cant po­li­ce and traf­fic de­part­ment pre­sen­ce on all the rou­tes in Ge­or­ge.

P­re­dicti­ons that the taxi in­du­stry would not gi­ve up their tem­po­ra­ry wind­fall pro­ved to be un­foun­ded as the­re we­re no tax­is on the de­sig­na­ted GO GE­OR­GE rou­tes. An in­si­der who knows the in­du­stry told the Ge­or­ge He­rald, “I ho­pe it las­ts. The tax­is we­re a­wa­re that the­re would be heig­h­te­ned se­cu­ri­ty on the rou­tes.” The fi­ve u­ni­ons that led the stri­ke agreed at the Na­ti­o­nal Bar­gai­ning Coun­cil in Gau­teng on Mon­day 14 May to a 9% wa­ge in­cre­a­se in the first y­e­ar, and an 8 % in­cre­a­se ap­pli­ca­ble next y­e­ar. The last ob­sta­cle to en­ding the stri­ke was bro­ke­red on Mon­day w­hen em­ploy­ers agreed to com­pen­sa­te wor­kers on their ba­sic wa­ges from 1 to 17 A­pril.

Mixed re­acti­on from com­mu­ters

The­re was mixed re­acti­on from com­mu­ters as the first GO GE­OR­GE bus in ne­ar­ly a month ap­pro­a­ched the bus stop. Most we­re ple­a­sed as t­hey would be a­ble to use their mul­ti-jour­ney bus tic­ket, sa­ving a con­si­de­ra­ble a­mount of mo­ney. Ot­her com­mu­ters, ho­we­ver, said that the tax­is we­re fas­ter and mo­re con­ve­nient, as t­hey pic­ked them up in front of their hou­se and drop­ped them at their work­pla­ce.

Bus dri­vers sa­tis­fied

Tsa­se Ramphi­sa, chairperson of the Num­sa s­hop ste­wards at GO GE­OR­GE, said t­hey know that t­hey o­pe­ra­te in a ser­vi­ce in­du­stry and the­re­fo­re a stri­ke is al­ways the last re­sort. Ramphi­sa said, “We re­gard our acti­ons as success­ful, as be­fo­re the stri­ke our em­ploy­er of­fe­red us a 4,7% in­cre­a­se on­ly, and now we ha­ve 9% this y­e­ar and 8% next y­e­ar, wor­ked out on the hig­her ba­se fi­gu­re.”

Na­ti­o­nal acti­on

John He­at­hco­te, o­pe­ra­ti­ons ma­na­ger of Ge­or­ge Link, the em­ploy­er of the bus dri­vers, said the con­tracting aut­ho­ri­ty in­structed them not to o­pe­ra­te du­ring the stri­ke. “The u­ni­on in­for­med Ge­or­ge Link that all the wor­kers would re­turn y­e­ster­day, Wed­nes­day 16 May, and we re­su­med full ser­vi­ce on ti­me.” The va­li­di­ty of the mul­ti-jour­ney tic­kets (MJT) will be ex­ten­ded with 28 days from y­e­ster­day, Wed­nes­day 16 May. All MJTs boug­ht be­fo­re the stri­ke will be va­lid up until and in­clu­ding 12 Ju­ne.

See mo­re p­ho­tos and a vi­deo at­or­ge­he­ Com­mu­ters li­ne up to bo­ard the bus for the se­cond leg of their jour­ney.

P­ho­tos: My­ron Ra­bi­no­witz

For Jo­le­ne Jonck from Pa­calts­dorp, hap­pi­ness is being on the GO GE­OR­GE bus a­gain.

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