The Citizen (Gauteng)

Metrobus strike still on

- Citizen reporter

Metrobus will not be resuming services this week in Johannesbu­rg as industrial action drags on.

Members of the Democratic Municipal and Allied Workers Union of South Africa (Demawusa) embarked on a strike last week. According to Metrobus, while 98.6% of employees have reported for duty, services cannot be resumed due to “threats of violence”.

“This is also in view of the unfortunat­e history of violence that has marred industrial action at Metrobus in the past leading to loss of life and injury,” it said.

“Although only a handful of employees are withholdin­g their labour in support of the strike, the nature of our operations are such that normal operations cannot resume without exposing employees to danger.”

Metrobus asked commuters to make alternativ­e arrangemen­ts for the week starting today.

Metrobus spokesman Goodwill Shivuri previously said Demawusa has 28 grievances, but the union is not recognised by the bargaining council, which makes it harder for their cases to be heard.

“There are already discussion­s being held for salary increases. One of their demands includes an R150 daily transport allowance for each employee. Some of it is unreasonab­le.”

The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) said on Friday it supported the Demawusa strike. “These are frontline workers who risked their own health to provide safe transit to working-class society during a pandemic.

“The SA Local Government Associatio­n is being egged on by Treasury to impose a real wage cut on all municipal workers, including these drivers.

“This is no way to reward them for the much higher risks they face, because Treasury is cutting corporate taxes and gifting yet more billions to subsidise passengers of elite transport.

“In this context of insufficie­nt state subsidies to working-class transport, the strike is regrettabl­e, but necessary.”

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