Rea Vaya unfair, says union

2010-05-10 13:46

Cape Town - The South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) has labelled bus operator Rea Vaya unfair for not giving its workers, who went on a surprise strike on Monday, more choice on which union to align themselves with.

"They should be given options, not guidelines," Samwu spokesperson Tahir Sema told News24.

"We as Samwu feel that this is very unfair," he said, although he stressed that the union had had no part in organising the strike.

"We only learned of the surprise strike this morning," Sema said.


According to Rea Vaya spokesperson Jackie Huntly, the workers and the operator had come to an agreement in a meeting on Thursday after the unrepresented workers had raised the matter of union recognition rights.

Huntly told News24 "the strike was contrary to our agreement".

It seems however that the workers were not happy with the agreement.

"The workers' gripe is that they want to be part of Samwu," said Sema, adding that there had been "some talk" of this being impossible as the bus system does not fall under local government.

"It [BRT] operates in a grey area," he said.

Sema said bringing the bus system under the local government would be best not only for the striking workers, but would also help Rea Vaya function better.

Financial assistance

The City of Johannesburg has "structures and balances in place" to make sure that the service operates properly and the city would also be give financial assistance and help improve capacity within the service, he said.

A Samwu representative had been sent to observe a meeting between the workers and BRT stakeholders on Monday, where a proposal by the workers would be discussed, Sema said.

He said he could not give an indication as to how long the talks would be as a resolution was yet to be reached.

On Monday the operator announced that no bus tickets would be sold for the day.

The City of Johannesburg was not immediately available for comment.

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