Metrobus has taken Demawusa to court and the City of Joburg is putting together contingency plans to salvage the situation and ensure commuters are not stranded. Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso Africa News Agency (ANA)
Metrobus has taken Demawusa to court and the City of Joburg is putting together contingency plans to salvage the situation and ensure commuters are not stranded. Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso Africa News Agency (ANA)

Metrobus strike enters third week but employer refuses to negotiate as union is not recognised

By Itumeleng Mafisa Time of article published May 17, 2021

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Johannesburg - 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.

The Star

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