Joburg Metrobus on Monday said it was not in negotiations with the members of the Democratic Municipal and Allied Workers’ Union of SA (Demawusa), following its picket at Gandhi Square in the Johannesburg central business district.
This after operations were disrupted yet again over an 18% salary increase and 27 other demands, including adjustments of salary disparity and long-service bonuses.
As the strike entered the third week, Demawusa’s general secretary, Deon Makhura, said the initial 18% increase was just a starting point as they were opening a door for negotiations with the bus company.
“Last week, we had a meeting with the management and they refused to come to the table and said that if we want to negotiate with them we should suspend the strike,” said Makhura.
“After consultations with the workers, they have decided to continue with the strike until they hear us out.”
However Metrobus spokesman Goodwill Shivuri said the meeting between the company and Demawusa was held to establish picketing rules.
“We are trying to make sure that we resume operations without Demawusa, because we have more than 98.6% of staff who have been on duty and ready to work,” said Shivuri.
Makhura said workers a Metrobus had been subjected to “terrible” treatment at the hands of a management he described as seemingly hell-bent on ignoring procedures.
“One of our demands is that discipline must be a uniform thing, it cannot be selective. Which is why we are demanding that they reinstate workers that were unfairly dismissed,” he added.
The union’s demands included a R150 per day transport allowance, a R300 cellphone allowance, a 14th cheque and a once-off payment of R15 000 for people who worked during the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the bus service, more than 30 000 commuters were left stranded due to the strike as services had to be withdrawn for safety reasons. Thandeka Mavuya, who uses the bus to get to school, said it was “a huge inconvenience”.
“I’ve already bought my monthly ticket and now no one has said anything about a strike or refunds because I cannot let the money go to waste,” she said.