City of Cape Town granted interdict against MyCiTi strikers

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Law enforcement officials take up positions at a MyCiTi stop. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)
Law enforcement officials take up positions at a MyCiTi stop. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

The City of Cape Town has obtained a court order against MyCiTi workers engaged in a "wildcat" strike.

Mayoral committee member for transport Brett Herron on Wednesday said the City would apply for an urgent court interdict against those who were preventing the MyCiTi bus service from operating.

The strike entered its fifth day on Friday, with unions no closer to reaching an agreement with the City.

READ: MyCiTi strikers, City of Cape Town at impasse over EFF's inclusion in talks

The Western Cape High Court interdict sought to prevent strikers from intimidating, harassing or assaulting MyCiTi passengers and staff; from damaging MyCiTi stations, depots or buses; and from gathering at, or coming closer than 100m to MyCiTi stations, depots or buses.

"We trust that the strikers will abide by the order, and will stop intimidating and threatening their colleagues who are not participating in the wildcat strike," Herron said on Facebook.

Herron, who believed the strike had been "orchestrated by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) for their own narrow political interests", maintained that he would not engage with the strikers through the EFF.

"Discussions about employee concerns cannot be brokered by the EFF, who have instigated this strike and have no role to play. I will not participate in an EFF political show," he said.

"I have been available all week long to address the striking workers, but on the condition that this engagement happens through their legitimate representatives, namely the unions who represent the employees in the workplace," Herron confirmed.

On Thursday, the strike action leadership made it clear that the EFF would need to be included in any negotiations with the City.

READ: Western Cape government urges Metrorail, MyCiTi to help ensure matrics get to exams on time

EFF Cape metro secretary Banzi Dambuza then said that the strikers would not meet Herron without the EFF, as the party had been invited by the workers.

Patrick Mabindisa, spokesperson for the strikers, confirmed that "workers went to the EFF and requested solidarity".

The court interdict is the second one to be awarded against MyCiTi strikers.

'Strike is contravention of LRA'

On Wednesday, Table Bay Area Rapid Transit (TBRAT) obtained a court order from the Labour Court of South Africa, interdicting and restraining the strikers from participating in the strike.

TBART is one of the Vehicle Operating Companies (VOCs) contracted by the City to operate the MyCiTi service.

The first court order obtained by TBART, it seemed, had not yielded the expected results, as strike action continued into Thursday.

According to Mabindisa, the court order was not effected as the Sheriff of the Court, who was directed to read the court order to those "present at or within 500 metres" of the applicant's offices, was not able to do so, as all strikers had moved away when workers were called to listen to the Sheriff.

Herron said that disciplinary action would ensue.

"The unprotected strike is in contravention of the Labour Relations Act, and that those participating are not getting paid while being absent from work and that they will face disciplinary action."

Herron also confirmed that "monthly ticketholders will be reimbursed with the number of days that they could not make use of the service due to the strike action".

It is unclear if the strike will continue into Saturday.

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