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14 April, 2016

NUMSA Statement on the bus strike

NUMSA wants to confirm that we met with the Labour minister this morning, her
intention was to end the current strike. We learnt this morning that three trade
unions, SATAWU, TAWUSA and TOWU went and unilaterally signed the agreement
with the employer, without consulting NUMSA. NUMSA is dismayed by such tactics
and rejects the behavior of the bargaining council secretary, who already issued a
memo informing employers that the strike is over because three union have signed.
NUMSA wants to be on record that the secretary of the bargaining council is
mischievous as he has no right to speak on behalf of NUMSA and its members.

We want to put the record straight that NUMSA is a worker controlled union. This
strike was sanctioned by workers as a result of conservative stubborn employers,
who refused the following demands:

1. The Employers refuse to pay workers double on public holidays, and time
and half on Sunday. In the meeting with the Minister of labour, Ms Mildred
Oliphant this morning we called on her department to move swiftly and force
all these bus companies to comply with the provision of the basic condition of
employment, for workers to be paid double on public holidays, and time and
the half on Sunday. This is straight forward issue of compliance.

2. This employers subject workers to 18 hour shifts on long distance


journeys from Johannesburg to Cape Town and only pay them for 8 hours.
The bus is driven by two drivers, and yet they dont get paid for all those
hours. If they get injured in a bus they dont regard that as an injury on duty

3. Numsa members demanded a double digit increase which this


conservative employers have rejected. These are the reasons why workers
went on strike as the last resort. Employers were given notice for a strike
action for a period of 30 days and another 48 hours before resuming the
strike. These employers remain arrogant. They did nothing and they refused
to find solutions, thats why NUMSA rejects any cheap blackmail that we are
not sensitive to this very important period of the Easter holiday. Employers
should take full responsibility for their irresponsible conduct which
inconvenienced our people. Our people deserve to have safe public transport
to take them home, driven by bus drivers who are paid a living wage under
safe conditions for the wellbeing of the South African public. On this, the
government too should take full responsibility. It should and must ensure that
there is a safe public transport and it has failed to do so thats why workers
are forced to fight for themselves.

According to NUMSA the strike continues. We reject the cheap propaganda of the
secretary of the bargaining council who because Satawu, Tawusa, and Towu signed
this agreement, decided that the strike was over. For our members, as NUMSA, the
strike continues.

However in light of these unions having signed, as NUMSA we are worker controlled.
We will be addressing general meetings all over the country tomorrow where
workers will be allowed to gather, to reflect on this development. Workers must give
NUMSA a mandate on whether to continue with the strike or to suspend the strike.
Tomorrow after we have consulted our members we shall inform the public and the
media

AS NUMSA, we extremely feel for our people, and we have also who been
extremely inconvenience by this grossly anarchical behavior of the employers in this
sector. We doing our best to find the quickest resolution of this strike and in the best
interest of our members. As we all know workers rights are human rights too we
were left to take this strike in pain because we know that the victims will be our
people. As the NUMSA leadership and as the union we are in solidarity with our
people and we share their suffering but we were placed between a rock and hard
place by the greed of the bosses.

We salute the courage of our members who gave up so much in order to do the right
thing. Who amongst us would willingly give up their salary, give up on paying daily
expenses, and sacrifice their familys security so that others may have a better life?
This is what workers do every single day, when they go on strike. They make major
sacrifices for the benefit of others. They are the true heroes of the struggle.

Compiled by Irvin Jim

NUMSA General Secretary