Transport dept failed Putco drivers: Satawu

2015-07-03 13:07
A Putco bus. (File, Alet Pretorius, Netwerk24)

A Putco bus. (File, Alet Pretorius, Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - As the violence escalates in Mamelodi due to minibus taxi drivers opposing the introduction of the Autopax bus service in the area, the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) on Friday said it had lost all faith in the transport department.  

Satawu's general secretary, Zenzo Mahlangu slammed the department for failing to make provisions for the hundreds of Putco employees who were affected by the transport company's move to cancel its contracts in parts of Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and Sedibeng municipalities.  

"We have lost confidence in both the provincial and the national departments of transport in providing the solution to this current crisis and hence we have resorted [to] taking the matter to court," said Mahlangu.  

He said the Labour Relations Law, Section 197 stated that 'the transfer of a business and the rights of employees affected by a transfer should be taken into account'.
Autopax must employ workers - Satawu

"Under a transfer of business the new employer; in this case Autopax; is automatically substituted in the place of the old employer, Putco, in respect of all contracts of employment in existence immediately before the date of transfer.

“Meaning Autopax is subject to employing all the workers that are already working the said routes. Autopax has refused to transfer employment contracts to their tender," said Mahlangu.  

He accused the department of failing to apply the law. Meanwhile, Putco took to the Labour Court to request assistance in ensuring that Autopax absorbs all workers who had been affected by their cancelled contract.

On Thursday, the court heard that there was a good chance the Putco employees who had not been transferred to other parts of the business would be retrenched if Autopax did not incorporate them into their own business.

Submissions by Putco and Autopax's legal representatives differed on whether the latter could be obliged to employ all affected Putco employees, since it did not involve a take-over, but rather Putco giving up certain routes.

Judgment reserved

The court heard 235 drivers had been affected by Putco's decision to cancel the three contracts.

Only 141 of them had been transferred to other Putco operations. The Passenger Rail Agency of SA's subsidiary Autopax stepped in to replace Putco on the affected routes and has hired 58 of the affected Putco drivers.

The future of the outstanding 94 depended on the court's judgment on whether or not Autopax was legally obligated to employ them.

Judgment on the matter was reserved.  

Read more on:    satawu  |  autopax  |  putco  |  pretoria  |  transport  |  labour

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