Putco matter postponed by Labour Court

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Johannesburg – An application by Putco to have a new bus operator take over staff affected by its cancelled contracts was postponed by the Johannesburg Labour Court on Tuesday.

It would be heard on Thursday, Putco executive director Thys Heyns said.

“We are asking the court to give guidance on the matter,” he said.

About 330 people would be affected.  

The bus operator wants the Gauteng transport department and its new service provider, Autopax, to take over staff who worked on the cancelled contracts.

Earlier this year, Putco announced it had given the department notice in early February of its intention not to renew certain loss-making tender contracts after they expire on March 31.

Autopax CEO Nathi Khena told Eyewitness News of the affected Putco staff: “We are willing to take them on. What we are not willing to do is to take them with the burden and the responsibilities that were supposed to be dealt with with Putco.

“But we want to take them on as new employees.”

Putco said in a statement that the contracts were awarded in 1996 and were no longer financially sustainable. The increases in subsidies for bus contracts had been consistently lower than increases in cost items like fuel, labour, and maintenance.

The change would affect about 180 of Putco’s fleet of 1 900 buses.

The affected services are between Kathorus and Edenvale; Germiston, Linbro Park, Johannesburg, Boksburg and Kempton Park; between Evaton, Sebokeng, Orange Farm and Meyerton; and between Mamelodi and the Tshwane CBD, and Tshwane’s southern, eastern, and northern suburbs.

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