The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) is calling on all its members in the bus sector to embark on a national protected strike starting Wednesday 18 April 2016 at 06:00am.
As NUMSA we are dismayed by the intransigent and narrow minded attitude adopted by employers represented by their associations SABEA and COBEA during the negotiations where they consistently frustrated wage talks. As a result, the Union is left with no option but to call on all its members in the bus sector to down tools. Both union members and non-union members will embark on an indefinite strike until employers meet workers’ demands.
THE FOLLOWING BUS COMPANIES ARE AFFECTED:
Megabus; Gautrain Busses; Greyhound; Golden Arrow; My Citi in Cape Town; Rea Vaya in Johannesburg; Buscor in Mpumalanga; Bojanala in the North West; Algoa Bus in Port Elizabeth; Mayibuye in East London; Go George in George; Areyeng in Tshwane; Mgqibelo in Sedibeng; Lowveld Bus Company in Limpopo; PAL Bus in Mpumalanga; and Mphakathi in Mpumalanga amongst others.
THESE ARE OUR DEMANDS:
- We demand a 12% wage increase across the board, bosses are offering 7%.
- We reject attempts by the bosses to down vary conditions. They want to impose a permanent slavery entry minimum rate of R5500 per month against current wage rates that are higher in the majority of bus companies. It is clear that this opportunism is driven by and encouraged by the current desperation of our government to introduce a slavery national minimum wage. This will have the impact of creating a two tier labour system where some workers earn higher than others. It violates the principle of equal pay for work of equal value, and over time, those who earn more will be retrenched.
- We demand that bus drivers are paid in full for all the hours which they spend on a bus as an alternative driver. The employer wants to continue to abuse workers by not paying them their full wages. They want to pay the alternative driver only when he is behind the steering wheel, and this is unacceptable!
- We demand subsistence allowance (S&T) for drivers who are doing long distance travel, and are forced to sleep out.
- We demand compliance with the (Basic Conditions of Employment Act) BCEA when it comes to night shift payment allowance. Workers who work from 6pm to 6am must be paid the full night shift allowance as determined by the basic conditions of employment act. Currently the industry uses a different definition for night shift which robs workers of their full allowance.
- We demand a special allowance for workers who qualify to drive the ‘train bus’ (two coaches) or the bi-articulated bus (three coaches), because it is a specialised skill and requires special training. Currently the employer wants to pay them as regular drivers and we reject this.
WE ARE GOING ON STRIKE IN ORDER TO DEMAND A LIVING WAGE FOR WORKERS AND THEIR FAMILIES
NUMSA wants to inform the public that the decision to embark on a strike was not taken lightly. In fact, we took this decision as a last resort. Employers had a 30 day cooling off period after deadlock was reached on 16 March 2018, but they selfishly chose not to engage in talks with a genuine desire to resolve the strike. They have demonstrated a completely uncaring attitude and have no desire to resolve the current impasse in this round of talks. We are a responsible union and we know that this strike is going to negatively affect our communities the most because they do not have safe reliable public transport because government has failed them. However, vulnerable workers who are bus drivers and all support staff are left with no option but to embark on a strike in order to fight against attempts to impose an Apartheid colonial wage on them. In essence they are fighting for their own survival and that of their families.
The purpose of this strike is to demand a living wage and achieve decent working conditions and in return, we want to be able to deliver quality bus transportation services. We therefore call on all progressive communities and all people who will negatively be affected by this strike to fully support the strike.
WE CALL ON ALL EMPLOYERS TO RETURN TO THE NEGOTIATION TABLE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
It is against this background that NUMSA calls on all the bosses in this sector to drop their racist ‘baaskap’ mentality and attitude and revert back to the negotiations with speed to negotiate a quick settlement of the strike. NUMSA and its leadership are ready to return to the negotiating table to search for a settlement of the current impasse as it is in the best interests of our members.
NUMSA is satisfied that the three other unions, namely, SATAWU, TAWUSA and our sister union TIRISANO have also resolved to embark on a strike that is starting tomorrow. It is our clarion call to all unions that are going jointly with us in the strike that we should stand together in pursuit of the strike to advance the demands of the workers. No union should settle unilaterally with the bosses in isolation of other unions as this will be to the detriment of unity of workers, which is what happened last year. We therefore call on all workers across the unions that are going on strike to set aside their prejudice and unite behind their demands.
Lastly, as a union we know that a strike is not a dinner party. We call on our members to embark on a militant, disciplined strike which will be driven by unity and the solidarity of workers in action.
United we stand, divided we fall!
The struggle continues!
Issued by Irvin Jim
NUMSA General Secretary
For more information please contact:
NUMSA National Spokesperson (Acting)