Joburg Metrobus operations disrupted as minority union demands 18% increase

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Metrobus drivers affiliated to the Democratic Municipal and Allied Workers’ Union downed tools on Monday over a wage dispute. (Photo by Gallo Images/Sowetan/Antonio Muchave)
Metrobus drivers affiliated to the Democratic Municipal and Allied Workers’ Union downed tools on Monday over a wage dispute. (Photo by Gallo Images/Sowetan/Antonio Muchave)
  • Metrobus drivers affiliated to the Democratic Municipal and Allied Workers’ Union downed tools on Monday over a wage dispute. 
  • The union is asking for an 18% salary increase, among other things.
  • About 97 buses were not operating on Monday. 

Johannesburg Metrobus operations were disrupted on Monday as workers belonging to the Democratic Municipal and Allied Workers’ Union of SA (DEMAWUSA) downed tools over 18% salary increases, among other things. 

"Over the last period, workers in the metro bus have been subjected to appalling treatment at the hands of a management that seems to be hell-bent on ignoring procedures, undermining workers rights and leaving the service in ruins," said Demawusa. 

The union’s demands included a R150 per day transport allowance, a R300 cellphone allowance, a 14th cheque, and a once off payment of R15 000 for people who worked during the Covid-19 pandemic.  

"The list of demands is extensive. This indicates above all else how issue after issue after issue is ignored, sidetracked, and is used to demonise and victimise and isolate those who are raising legitimate demands. Many of the workers demands are to ensure that bus drivers are able to carry out their duties safely and with the right sort of back up to ensure an efficient and responsive service to our people," said the union. 

READ | Unions’ wage push hit by disunity

In anticipation of the strike action, Metrobus and Demawusa entered into a picketing rules agreement to ensure the safety of commuters and the majority of bus drivers who do not belong to the union. 

On Monday, the buses were working on an adjusted schedule due to the shortage of drivers. 

Metrobus spokesperson Goodwill Shivuri told Timeslive that about 97 buses from their Village Main depot in the inner city were not operating and that they were not at liberty to negotiate some of the demands as they are dealt with at the bargaining council.

It is unclear how long the strike action is expected to last.

In September 2019 News24 reported on similar wage issues that had been raised by the union which at the time also threated strike action.

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