NUMSA Statement on the bus strike
14 April, 2016
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 don’t get paid for all those hours. If they get injured in a bus they don’t 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, that’s 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 that’s 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 family’s 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.
Statement issued by Irvin Jim, NUMSA General Secretary, 14 April 2017
NUMSA to return to work in the Bus Passenger Sector
April 15, 2017
Following extensive consultation from regions in all nine provinces, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) has decided to end the strike in the Bus Passenger sector. Despite being the second biggest trade union in the sector we had to accept this sell out deal for the sake of industrial peace and stability in the sector, and we therefore urge all our members to return to work.
We want to inform Employers that it will take time for all our members to return to work. We expect that byTuesday all our members should be back at work. We also want to remind the Employer that we will not tolerate any victimization of our members for their participation in the strike.
NUMSA will continue to pressurize the Department of Labour to do proper oversight in the bus passenger sector. The fact that our members, even under the new wage agreement will continue to be exposed to dangerously long hours without compensation is shameful.
We are inspired by our members who demonstrated great courage and determination during the course of the strike. They were also extremely disciplined. We salute you for fighting for a dignified life for yourself and your families. We call on all workers in the sector to unite behind NUMSA as we fight to transform the industry and restore dignity and equality to our members.
The struggle continues!
Statement issued by Irvin Jim, General Secretary NUMSA, 15 April 2017