The Star Late Edition

Samwu urges its Metrobus members to continue reporting to work


THE SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) has urged its members at the Joburg Metrobus service to keep reporting to work.

Samwu spokespers­on Papikie Mohale said their members were not on strike. He said workers should report for duty but be cautious about their safety.

This comes as Metrobus drivers’ strike enters its third week of disrupted operations because of a strike by the rebel Democratic Municipal and Allied Workers Union of SA (Demawusa).

There are currently no negotiatio­ns between Demawusa and Metrobus because the union is not recognised.

Samwu is currently busy with consultati­ons with members following the conclusion in last week’s SA Local Government Associatio­n (Salga) meeting with unions. The municipal union is hoping to secure a R4 000 salary increase for all municipal workers.

Demawusa is demanding an 18% salary increase among a list of 28 demands it is making.

“Our members should go to work and report for duty. It is the responsibi­lity of the employer to ensure that the workers are safe. They must stay within the premises of the employer,” Mohale said. The Star understand­s that Demawusa, which has around 100 members at Metrobus, is not part of the Local Government Bargaining Council.

Metrobus has taken Demawusa to court and the City of Jorburg was putting together some contingenc­y plans to salvage the situation. The bus utility did not want to reveal the plans.

Metrobus spokespers­on Goodwill Shiburi said: “The sad thing and the complicati­on is that there are no negotiatio­ns between Demawusa and Metrobus. The culture is that there are Salga negotiatio­ns that include the bulk of labour. When those negotiatio­ns are concluded that resolution­s will apply to all members of different unions.”

Shiburi said the principle of no work, no pay would apply and those who were on strike would be locked out. He said tensions between striking workers and non-striking workers were so bad that those who were experienci­ng threats were afraid of even going to the police. The majority of workers at Metrobus belong to Samwu.

“We can’t put employees back on the road. It’s a tricky situation. We would not want to have a situation where one of our buses is bombed. Drivers are not willing to report the intimidati­on. People are scared because when something is police record it’s also a public record, so workers know each other and that’s why they are scared,” Shiburi said.

Meanwhile, Salga negotiatio­ns are expected to resume again next month.

“We cannot have parallel negotiatio­ns happening,” Shiburi said.

Metrobus was losing around R300 000 a day from disruption­s to operations.

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