CAPE TOWN - A representative of protesting MyCiTi bus employees on Thursday said workers were ready to "fight until the last drop of the blood".
"I won't mind dying for my children's future, because at the end of the day the business was meant to help people and now it's not happening. This business was established to help people, but now, this is not what's happening. That is what we are fighting for and then we will fight until the last drop of the blood," said Thandikhaya Chizama.
Chaos broke out at the Cape Town Civic Centre on Thursday as police fired stun grenades to disperse about 200 protesting MyCiTi bus employees who embarked on an illegal strike in October.
Chizama said the employees were angry as their demands were not being accepted by the employer. He said workers' representatives have submitted their list of demands to Cape Town mayor Dan Plato. Plato accepted and signed the memorandum on November 15.
In the long list of demands that he produced to African News Agency during the interview, employees demand, among others, to be employed by the municipality, “improvement of working conditions” and “equal salaries to all drivers”.
The MyCiTi bus operators are currently hired by Vehicle Operating Companies (VOC), which employees would like changed.
“We demand that the drivers are paid equally. Drivers are not paid the same rate, example N2 Express are earning higher other VOCs whereas the other VOCs are working longer in this project. Some companies in this project have medical aid where others don’t have any medical aid, “ the list of demands read.
He said that workers were ready and willing to do their work but under the condition that their demands are met, and that they were not going to back off until the employer comes to address the issue.
However, Chizama said the strike has seen some workers returning to work and facing disciplinary hearings and some workers have been dismissed.
The city has experienced some violence and intimidation linked to the strike. On Monday night, a bus was set alight in Woodstock leaving the driver and a commuter seriously injured.
Last month, a man was arrested after a MyCiTi bus was set alight at the Crassula bus stop along Koeberg Road in Milnerton.
According to the City’s mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, Felicity Purchase, five MyCiTi buses have been burnt out in petrol bomb attacks since October 15 and another four buses have been damaged in foiled arson attempts.
African News Agency (ANA)