South Africa: Metrobus Says Buses Operating in Joburg, but Union Vows to Continue Strike

23 September 2019

Metrobus says its services were up and running in Johannesburg by the early hours of Monday morning, although not at 100% as trade union Demawusa vowed to continued striking.

The Democratic Municipal and Allied Workers' Union (Demawusa) has vowed to continue with its strike over pay issues.

Workers affiliated to the union are demanding to be paid a salary progression based on three-year periods of accumulated service. They also want to be given offices and resources in three depots.

Metrobus spokesperson Goodwill Shivuri said the numbers of commuters on Monday would pick up as the morning progressed. Metrobus was recently granted leave to appeal a Labour Court judgment allowing the strike.Workers affiliated to other unions though have returned to work and have picked up buses from depots.

"There is a little bit of fear but we are confirming and guaranteeing some level of safety," Shivuri said.

The company on Friday appealed the judgment that gave the strike the go-ahead.

Shivuri said the company would be filing papers to argue that the strike had no basis.

The court has yet to give a date for arguments.

"If we win the case, we will have time to fix things but if we lose, it does put Demawusa back on the streets for them to strike," he said.

The company argues that the union is a minority union and therefore have limited rights to go on strike.

Shivuri said, because Metrobus was an entity of the City of Johannesburg, salary issues were addressed through the Bargaining Council and, therefore, it could not act outside a collective agreement with majority unions, News24 previously reported.

Demawusa spokesperson Dion Makhura said their members remained on the streets because the judgment for Metrobus to appeal their strike did not "interdict".

Makhura said nothing has changed and they were still adamant about their demands. He added that they were trying their best to work with the company to find a solution.

"We have an employer who is arrogant. They are going to court and they know that we are a small union and don't have money to go to court every day. The money they are using [to go to court] can be used to solve the problem we have," Makhura said.

He added that the union was not calling for its demands to be implemented immediately.

"We are saying let us agree on a principle. If they don't have a budget, say they will include it in next year's budget. If we leave this, the issues will never go away," said Makhura.

Source: News24

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