Vavi wants Metrobus to recognise rebel union that has been on strike for four weeks
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Johannesburg - The indefinite Metrobus strike will only end when the City of Joburg recognises rebel union the Democratic Municipal and Allied Workers Union of SA (Demawusa) as a union, says SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) leader Zwelinzima Vavi.
Vavi's utterances come as the Metrobus strike enters its fourth week with no end in sight.
The Star understands that the majority of workers want to return to work but because of threats of intimidation and attacks they are afraid to.
Demawusa, a Saftu affiliate, has about 100 members at Metrobus while more than 700 belong to the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu).
The City of Joburg had tried interdicting the strike but failed.
“Metrobus must go and negotiate with the union and its workers and not to the media when they are there. They can show audited statements to show that they don’t have money.
“They are going to have to recognise the union. The apartheid regime refused to talk to Samwu until they were forced to. The workers are determined to teach Metrobus a lesson,” Vavi said.
Despite the fact that the workers have been divided at Metrobus, Vavi said Demawusa was within its rights to prolong the strike that has seen the city losing around R300 000 a day. Demawusa was asking for an 18% pay hike, a figure that Metrobus has described as impossible.
“The unity of workers should be about advancing the interest of the workers. All of those Demawusa members were members of Samwu. There would be no Demawusa if Samwu had not abandoned them,” he said.
Demawusa has decided to negotiate with Metrobus directly and not with Samwu at the SA Local Government Association (Salga) Bargaining Council. Samwu has distanced itself from the strike.
The ANC in Joburg has accused Demawusa and its mother body of having a political agenda to destabilise the city but Vavi said it was about the politics of wages.
Metrobus spokesperson Goodwill Shiburi said Gauteng Transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo was in talks with stakeholders to try to resolve the issue.
Samwu spokesperson Papikie Mohale said Demawusa and Saftu were being unreasonable.