Strike could halt Golden Arrow bus services in Cape Town Photo: David Ritchie/African News Agency/ANA
Strike could halt Golden Arrow bus services in Cape Town Photo: David Ritchie/African News Agency/ANA

Strike could halt Cape Town bus services

By Okuhle Hlati Time of article published Apr 17, 2018

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Cape Town - The City says the MyCiTi bus service might be suspended from midnight on Wednesday as thousands of workers in the bus industry are expected to down tools.

This as the Golden Arrow Bus Services said on Monday, it was hopeful an agreement with the unions representing the employees would be reached. The nationwide strike, which will leave thousands of bus commuters stranded, came after negotiations between employers and employees reached a deadlock.

Last week the unions gave notice of their intention to go on strike after a deadlock in annual wage negotiations between the employers association and five transport

unions - the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu), National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa),Transport and Allied Workers Union of SA (Tawusa), Transport and Omnibus Workers Union (Towu) and Tirisano Transport Workers Union (Taswu).

Satawu spokesperson Zanele Sabela said the unions were asking for an increase of 12%, while the employers offered 7%.

“Workers in the sector want to sign a one-year agreement but employers want a three-year (contract). Workers are refusing to do this because they are not doing anything to entice us into signing this agreement.

“We are also looking at having a minimum wage of R8000, but they want to keep it where it is at R6070.”

She said they also had a problem with the night shift working hours. She said the issue of dual drivers on long-distance buses, where only one driver is paid and the other gets a R400 allowance for the month, needed to be addressed.

Golden Arrow Bus Services said: “If the strike action goes ahead, Golden Arrow will institute a company-wide lockout in order to ensure the safety of our passengers and staff for the duration of the strike. Services could therefore be suspended.

“In the event of a strike, weekly and monthly clip cards that are valid when the strike commences will be extended when service resumes.”

Transport and urban development Mayco member Brett Herron said: “The City has been informed that the vehicle operating companies (VOCs) operating the MyCiTi service will institute a lockout to ensure the safety of commuters and personnel for the duration of the strike.

“This, in effect, means that there will be no MyCiTi trunk or feeder services available for as long as the strike and lockout continue.

“The strike will have a serious knock-on effect on all public transport and road-based traffic as more than 72000 commuters make use of the MyCiTi service on any given weekday. “Furthermore, we anticipate that the strike action will have a severe impact on Cape Town’s commuters, who are already taking strain due to the challenges Metrorail is experiencing with the central line,” said Herron.

Herron called on private businesses in the city to consider implementing flexible working hours or remote working arrangements for employees where possible. He also advised a car pooling option for those living further away.

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