Ex-Metrobus employees accused of fuelling ongoing drivers’ strike
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Johannesburg - Joburg Metrobus service has blamed past employees for fuelling the current strike which entered its fourth week on Monday.
A spokesperson for the bus service, Goodwill Shiburi, said past employees were seen picketing outside with drivers who were on strike.
The union that declared a strike at the municipal entity Democratic Municipal and Allied Workers Union of SA (Demawusa) was demanding an 18% salary increase and the reinstatement of workers that had been fired since 2016.
Metrobus also confirmed that Demawusa leader Dion Makhura was also an ex-employee of Metrobus.
“This thing is about individuals and not workers. Most of those workers were stealing money from passengers, that’s the biggest thing. Some were fired for taking the vehicles where they are not supposed to be and proper processes were followed.”
Shiburi said workers affiliated to the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) would get their full salary today (Thursday) on condition that they had been reporting for duty.
Demawusa members had gone on strike on condition of the no-work-no-pay principle.
“That conclusion is that the decision to strike was one reached by a few individuals led by disgruntled power-mongering individuals not employed by Metrobus.
“In essence, the legitimate interests of workers have been hijacked by a few ex-employees who wish to have their jobs back through the perpetuation of violence and in blatant disregard of the interest of the masses of citizens who depend on Metrobus for transportation.”
Shiburi said the municipality was trying to come up with plans to ensure drivers were back on the road. There were attempts to have the buses escorted by Johannesburg Metro Police Department but drivers who were not on strike were still scared.
“Metrobus has been informed by its employees that threats of violence have been made against non (1)striking employees. Metrobus considered these reports in light of an unfortunate history of violent strikes at Metrobus during which limb and life was lost.
“Certain sections of DEMAWUSA may have indirectly benefited from these tragedies and may find it convenient to forget these incidents.
“However, the majority of employees and the families of those who were maimed and killed continue to remember these incidents and the leadership under whom such incidents occurred. In this regard, the continued calling of evidence of threats by DEMAWUSA sounds extremely hollow and is tantamount to spitting in the face of those who continue to suffer because of the unnecessary violence.”
Meanwhile, Shiburi denied claims that Metrobus had a vendetta against the union and its leaders.
“Accordingly, DEMAWUSA will be well advised to refrain from claiming that it speaks for the employees of Metrobus since such claim is, at best, a fabrication and, at worst, a fraudulent claim aimed at legitimising a vendetta against the interest of Metrobus and its commuters, instead of producing evidence of its compliance with the law.”