Gautrain bus drivers to take hour lunch breaks

2015-05-05 18:35
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Johannesburg - After Gautrain bus drivers suspended their go-slow on Tuesday, they announced they would take one-hour lunch breaks at every station from Wednesday.

"If today [Tuesday] is anything to go by it will be from 10:00 to 11:00 for the morning shift and 17:00 to 18:00," Gautrain spokesperson Ian Findlay said.

"We're putting pressure on the unions to get their members to act in accordance with their contracts."

He said following the go-slow, unions had given them the assurance there would be no more disruptions, but then took "unilateral action" and decided on taking lunch breaks.

Findlay said it would be difficult making contingency plans as having 300 drivers on standby was nearly impossible. It was not clear for how long the drivers intended taking their breaks. 

The National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) had arranged a meeting with Mega Express, which runs the bus service, to discuss their grievances, next Tuesday.

Numsa is the majority union representing the drivers. Spokesperson Castro Ngobese said they supported the go-slow, which caused delays for commuters in Midrand, Sandton, and Rhodesfield on Tuesday morning.

"Our resolute members decided to embark on a go-slow in protest to demand a one-hour continuous lunch break. Currently our members are given 20 minutes unpaid lunch break, whilst at the same time they are compelled to work non-stop."

He said the drivers had submitted alternatives to Mega Express, but their proposals had fallen on deaf ears.

Ngobese said if Tuesday's meeting failed to broker a settlement the union would look at other options.

"It will be the workers that will guide the union on the next course of action, but we don’t rule out the possibility of calling for a full-blown strike until this matter is resolved," he said.

Read more on:    numsa  |  gautrain  |  johannesburg  |  transport

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