Pretoria – Drivers for Tshwane Bus Services who participated in an illegal strike that saw them intimidating other bus drivers and damaging buses belonging to the City, have potentially placed their jobs on the line.
This is according to City of Tshwane chief of staff Jordan Griffiths, who reacted to the employees who stoned and damaged two of the City’s buses shortly before leaving the depot.
The City subsequently approached the Labour Court in Johannesburg to apply for an urgent interdict to have the drivers cease the illegal strike, refrain from intimidating other drivers and damaging the municipality’s property.
Griffiths said it was believed the striking drivers were affiliated to the South African Municipal Workers Union, but the union’s leaders did not encourage the illegal strike.
“Drivers belonging to the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union have been at work,” she said.
Griffiths said the City had been engaging with the striking drivers since last week as they began protesting one of their drivers was stopped and fined by officers from the Tshwane Metro Police Department for driving in the red lanes dedicated to the A Re Yeng buses.
Furthermore, he said the drivers demanded their fines be scrapped by the Tshwane Metro Police Department and the City should give them more place to work with.
Griffiths said: “This is not the right time and the right way for these drivers to raise their grievances. They have committed themselves to something without understanding the repercussions of their actions.
“The City has given them multiple notices and served them paper work individually to cease their quarrels and return to work. The interdict may not force people to return to work but it is critically important to help the
Regional secretary of the South African Municipal Workers Union Mpho Tladinyana said the concerns that have been raised by the striking drivers are legitimate and have been on the agenda for three years but the City never really addressed them adequately.
He said: “It must be clarified that the South African Municipal Workers Union does not tell members what to do because the union is a member controlled organisation, therefore members tell the leaders what to do on their behalf. However, that does not mean we cannot give them advice.
“We are going to hold a meeting with the members and come to an understanding on how to engage on these issues properly, and keeping in mind that school children depend on the buses and when there is a strike they become affected. We are going to reach an agreement on how to deal and engage on these legitimate matters procedurally.”
City spokesperson Selby Bokaba said Tshwane Bus Services management was forced to withdraw the buses to the depot for the safety of the drivers and passengers, and to safeguard the City’s assets. Fortunately, no one was injured during the incident.
He said: “If the striking employees do not return to work, disciplinary proceedings will be instituted against them. The no work no pay rule will be implemented against the employees that participated in the illegal strike. The City has exhausted all avenues for negotiations with the striking employees and is left with no choice but to take a legal course of action.”