BRT drivers on strike

By Drum Digital
15 October 2012

Commuters were left stranded in Johannesburg on Monday when the city's bus rapid transit system (BRT) drivers went on strike.

"Rea Vaya services will not be operating... The bus drivers have given their employer Piotrans notice that they will go on strike," city spokesman Nthatisi Modingoane said.

Piotrans, the company contracted to the city to operate the first phase of the Rea Vaya bus service, failed to reach agreement on a labour dispute with the bus drivers on Friday, and a strike notice was issued.

The SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) said it was demanding an increase in workers' salaries and better employment conditions.

"About 10 workers had their salaries adjusted and increased by R3000 recently, while other were left unchanged," said Samwu regional chairman Dion Makura.

The union was also demanding a change to the shift system because the one currently being used was "strenuous, and slavery".

Makura said workers also wanted Piotrans to pay contributions to a provident fund from the time they were employed.

"The employer only made contributions [to the provident fund] starting in 2010. But there are workers who started back in August 2009," he said.

Piotrans could not be reached for comment.

In August last year, about 250 BRT bus drivers went on a strike, demanding a salary of R15,000 a month. The strike lasted eight weeks and ended with the drivers settling for R6500.

At that time, the strike left about 35,000 BRT commuters stranded between Soweto and Johannesburg.

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