No skeleton bus services for Gautrain

2012-02-03 08:37

Johannesburg - No back-up service was available for the Gautrain bus service, which remained suspended on Friday morning due to an illegal strike by bus drivers, the Bombela Concession company said.

"Unfortunately, in the short period of the illegal strike the drivers from the skeletal bus service were intimidated and are unhappy to continue working," spokesperson Errol Braithwaite said.

"The disciplinary procedures that started yesterday, [Thursday] are currently under way and we hope it will be completed by the end of business today so we can discuss the way forward."

Braithwaite said they had locked the striking drivers out of the depot in Midrand.

Not represented by union

"We are not going to let them in until the issues are resolved. It is difficult to have meaningful discussions with the drivers who are not represented by a union anymore," he said.

The Gautrain bus drivers, who used to be members of the SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu), had left the union and were now acting independently. Satawu confirmed this on Wednesday.

Braithwaite said they could no longer tolerate the behaviour of the drivers who held the company and customers at ransom by acting outside the law.

On Wednesday afternoon, the drivers ignored an ultimatum that required them to return to work by 15:00. A court interdict was issued last month compelling drivers to return to work.

Braithwaite said the drivers launched their own court application to block disciplinary hearings but their application was dismissed by the Johannesburg Labour Court. Some of the drivers were fired.

Last month, drivers went on strike because they wanted MegaExpress - the Gautrain bus operating company - to provide them with transport from their homes to their place of work every day.

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  • symbolofmylife - 2012-02-03 08:43

    "It is difficult to have meaningful discussions with the drivers who are not represented by a union anymore"...why have discussions?!?!?!?! Just fire the lot!!!!!!!!

      darrel.botes - 2012-02-03 08:51

      The difficulty of course is upskilling their replacements to ensure they know the routes and procedures but I agree, get rid of them and give the work to people who actually want to work.

      procold2 - 2012-02-03 08:52

      fire them and if they cause any trouble arrest them, plenty people need work.

      carpejugulim - 2012-02-03 09:06

      On Wednesday afternoon, the drivers ignored an ultimatum that required them to return to work by 15:00. A court interdict was issued last month compelling drivers to return to work. Why haven't they been arrested and charged for contempt of court and for intimidation? This is an ILLEGAL strike, fire the lot for noncompliance of a court order and intimidation of relief drivers instead of begging and pleading with them to return to work. The routes can be printed out and given to the new drivers to learn, if needs be the conductor can read the route to the new driver along the way. There are so many people that are desperate for a job that entertaining petulant and unlawful behaviour is reprehensible. One cannot condone that kind of action.

      christo.stone - 2012-02-03 09:10

      Agreed. If it's illegal then they have no foot to stand on. Fire them. The Gautrain is supposed to be a rapid transport system...this isn't happing with all the strikes.

      Robsschele - 2012-02-03 09:10

      Put a GPS in every bus which shows all the stops and routes.

      Johnny - 2012-02-03 10:43

      AMPLAT mining fired 17000+ for illegal strikes... it can be done !

      Johnny - 2012-02-03 10:44


      Al - 2012-02-03 18:05

      There seems to be no pleasing some of you. If this was a union supported strike then you would be moaning about the damage unions are doing to the economy. These guys have decided that they are not to be in a union and thus I think that they should be lauded,not fired. But they forget that a union and a legal union strike is the only way to get what they want.

  • Kim - 2012-02-03 08:47

    Hey, but there is "no delivery crisis in Gauteng?" Anyone else confused?

  • Dax - 2012-02-03 08:49

    Fire the lot of them! Its time to hire drivers who want to work and get rid of the rubbish that continually strike. In a country with millions unemployed I'm sure there is no shortage of people who would love to drive Gautrain buses for a living.

  • Johan - 2012-02-03 08:49

    What a sorry country this has become. Very sad!

  • rowan.maulson - 2012-02-03 08:55

    I really fail to see why this is such a problem.... Fire them, and get new drivers.. I'm sure there are more than a few drivers out their who will be happy to get a job. Follow the lead of Implats... illegal strike = 18000 employees fired.

  • Marius Koen - 2012-02-03 08:58

    First class transport system in a third world country. There's no hope.

  • fanus.kriel - 2012-02-03 08:58

    Boycot them ! No users = NO MONEY to pay their pathetic services or workers or busdrivers !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • reinhard.pettenburger - 2012-02-03 09:01

    Simple Fire the lot of them and have done with it. There are plenty of people looking for work!

  • Lorenzo - 2012-02-03 09:02


  • Gaby - 2012-02-03 09:07

    I suggest the guys in charge go to Cape Town to learn how it's done. I'm sure there is not a single commuter left who is prepared to use this unreliable service.

  • Ian - 2012-02-03 09:23

    Fire them and get other drivers who actually want to work. However, I would suggest that they first teach their drivers how to abbey the rules of the road and also teach them people skills. Coz at the moment they don’t know how to spell the phrase, Road rules’ or how to interact with people

  • Albertus - 2012-02-03 09:25

    by the time the drivers return to work the Gautrain wheels will be stolen and sold to a scrap dealer.

  • Irene - 2012-02-03 09:26

    Follow in Implat's shoes and fire the entire bunch. Get rid of them! Hamba! Voetsak! It'll help solve all their worries because then these swines will have nothing to worry about.

  • smahlaba - 2012-02-03 09:31

    I think the drivers are taking advantage of the media interest this would bring if they would be fired. Just go to work and do your jobs man.

  • Jacob - 2012-02-03 09:40

    Fire the drivers, i.e. terminate their remuneration. There are many people who would do the job for less money

  • Dave - 2012-02-03 09:43

    But the actual reason for the strike is a real killer, these muppets want to be picked up from their homes and taken to work, man this has to be a first world wide, well done guys

  • don.ruffels - 2012-02-03 09:43

    "No skeleton bus services for Gautrain" your story line: But, only skeletons standing on the side of the road waiting for the Gautrain bus service.

  • Fanie - 2012-02-03 09:58

    fire them all

  • Gavin - 2012-02-03 10:06

    In SA the 'workers' no longer have to work hard/effectively for a decent increase. Instead they join a union and strike. I'd love to know where this crap of a 'housing allowance' came from.

  • Sandra - 2012-02-03 10:31

    This is why my husband has stopped going by Gautrain to work because there isnt a bus service that is realiable all year round to take him from the station to his work. These bus drivers are alwasy going on strike, so its back to going by car to Melrose.

  • Craig - 2012-02-03 10:32

    What happened to this "First world" transport system? You charge huge prices, so, I expect it to work. Now, get your act together or scrap the whole lot...

      StarStruck - 2012-02-03 10:42

      I agree. This is a paid for service by the tax payers. They have to find middle ground soon or the Gautrain will become a white elephant. Phumi sugested that the governemt take over operations -- that freakin pulp of a brain of his needs replacing, really.

  • Appollo - 2012-02-03 10:36


  • Martin - 2012-02-03 10:53

    One would have thought that the Bombela Consortium would have addressed all these issues BEFORE going live with the Gautrain system. Surely all bus and train drivers signed an employment contract? Another sign that this country is run by trade unions and not economic common sense.

  • Anakin - 2012-02-03 10:55

    What the bloody point then of having the Gautrain if there's no bus service to get you to the damn thing & back?! Rather everyone for himself/herself again and travel by car, much more reliable.

  • Trevor - 2012-02-03 10:59

    hahahaha...... any other news we don't know???? Everthing is going to "stand still"...just watch this space

  • takurian - 2012-02-03 11:08

    You will hire and fire, hire again and fire again. At the end of the day, you haven't solved the problem. Solve the problem by providing them with transport to and from work. These guys work odd hours.

  • The-third - 2012-02-03 11:21

    First world ideas and products mean nothing when driven by third world mentality.

  • Zipho Ka Nomafu Myaluza - 2012-02-03 11:52

    poor drivers,strike till u get transport, megabus express transports its drivers in secunda depot and bethal,why not u? its all crap, they must give u transport if they expect u to be at work on time,am with u all the way

  • Carrol-Lynne - 2012-02-03 12:49

    What I want to know is how will this affect the poor users of the Gautrain - which, if you use it you will know, is not cheap at all - do they just lose the money on their cards if they have weekly or monthly tickets as the money on these cards expire if not used within a specific time frame. Money for jam for the owners and once again the poor sucker in the street (ie working man) loses

  • MK.Mark.II - 2012-02-03 12:52

    No Management on the routes anyway. Wait 45 minutes to over an hour awaiting the the scheduled busses at Anderson Street. 2 / 3 busses just do not complete the scheduled route. Busses so packed that they are unsafe. Drivers jumping Red robots. Talking on the phone while driving (the joke is they where organising the strike). Some of us where warned a week ago that at the end of the month there would be another strike. What did Management do when these issues where raised with them. Nothing. "Sorry we can only work according to the agreed principles that relate to the agreement betweem Bombela and Goverment. Blah Blah Blah. try get a refund on your 7 Day / 35 Day Train pass that you cannot use because there are no busses :(

  • lee.farrington - 2012-02-03 13:09

    Yet another nail in the coffin of the Gautrain, soon no one will rely on it, just like they didn't rely on it before. The management of the Gautrain should start looking at how they can stop these strikes as it is killing the whole concept of reliable fast transport in JHB / PTA

  • tracy.moller - 2012-02-03 13:22

    They demand transport from home to work? Seriously? I could understand transport from work to home late at night. Workers are becoming more and more unreasonable with each passing day. No wonder service in this country is such a mess.

  • Maru - 2012-02-03 13:42

    Surely these drivers knew what the working conditions would be. Why demand transport now? If I do not have my own transport to get to my work, I have to PAY for transport. What makes them so special?

  • Tenagyah - 2012-02-03 13:47

    The mentality of entitlement in this country is appalling! I am so sick and tired of hearing about strikes, especially over petty demands like transport to work and back. What about those that don't even have a job to go to for crying out loud?! They would happily take what job they have, and find a way of getting to work and back. Every morning we all do.I agree, fire the lot and give it to someone who is just grateful to have a job to go to everyday!

  • Gail Shorkend - 2015-05-11 09:29

    Iam so affected by this. Iam not saying one mustn't have breaks One should be reasonable and take them at time suitable for all passengers. We all want to get home early. After a long hard day at work. Iam glad there was an interdict. Management must sort out a timetable. Everyone is in a turmoil. As a result of this inconvience. I hope and pray that it gets resolved today Iam in a quandary with this. I want it to go back to normal. What are paying all that money for.

  • Gail Shorkend - 2015-05-11 10:15

    This is so not on. The management should have a skleton staff.How do they propose we get to work. This is really a nuisance factor. Maybe with the interdict. Things will get back to normal. I have never know a country to strike like SA . At a drop of a pin. Supposed to be reliable service. I may as well take the slow boat to China. At least the boats will be efficiently run

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