WATCH: Tshwane bus strike to continue on Wednesday in Pretoria, but City says plans in place to avoid gridlock

2019-07-30 17:38

Negotiations to end a bus strike in Pretoria will resume on Wednesday when members of the South African Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) and the City of Tshwane meet at the Local Bargaining Council. 

Samwu's Tshwane regional secretary, Mpho Tladinyane, said that the negotiations had to be postponed on Tuesday as representatives from the City did not have a mandate. 

In a statement, the City of Tshwane confirmed that negotiations would continue on Wednesday and appealed to SAMWU to approach the conciliation efforts in good faith, citing that the strike action had affected service delivery across various parts of the city. 

"As a result, residents are bearing the brunt of the regrettable action of the unlawful protest," a statement from the Officer of the Mayor read. 

Samwu members are demanding an 18% pay increase, backdated to 2017. They claim that the increase was given to group managers and executive directors in the City's administration. 

While the meeting was underway in Centurion, workers sang and danced on the streets outside Tshwane House. 

Several buses also blocked streets in the CBD. 

"We could not engage on the matter. We were informed that the executive mayor has convened a meeting with top management and politicians to work out how to resolve the issue," Tladinyane said. 

He said the conciliation meeting was then moved to 10:00 on Wednesday. Tladinyane added that they believed that the outcome on Wednesday would favour the workers. 

"Two things should happen. The City should either agree to pay us our 18% or they should categorically state that they won't pay," he said. 

He said that employees were adamant that, whatever amount was paid to top management, general workers should receive the same. 

By 15:00 on Tuesday, buses that had blocked the capital city's streets had been removed by the workers. Tladinyane said the crowd would reconvene Wednesday outside Tshwane House again. 

He added that, if there were a dispute in the Bargaining Council meeting, workers would then decide on a way forward regarding their picket. 

It is not known at the stage whether striking workers will once again use buses to blockade the streets on Wednesday morning. However, Tshwane Metro Police Department spokesperson Isaac Mahamba said a plan was in place to ensure that there were diversions to ease congestion and prevent the gridlock that was experienced on Monday and Tuesday. 

Mahamba said the department was not in a position to give the exact details of the plan, but promised that officials would be ready to assist.

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Read more on:    samwu  |  tshwane  |  protest
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