The application by five bus companies to be exempted from the annual increase settlement is an act of provocation and an attack on collective bargaining
COSATU is shocked and strongly denounces the five bus companies that are attempting to seek exemption from the recent bus driver’s wage settlements. We view the announced intention by the five bus companies to seek exemptions from the annual increase settlement as an attack on workers’ and their hard won right to an annual salary increase.
This is a blatant attack and a vulgar attempt at undermining collective bargaining. If this is allowed, it will potentially threaten collective negotiations and agreements. This bus companies are literally telling the bus drivers that there is no point in negotiating with employers, as they have no intention of honouring any agreement reached and signed on their behalf.
This attack on workers’ comes at a time, when they are being battered by a 1% VAT hike, rising consumer goods’ prices, electricity and municipal tariff hikes far above inflation, repeated massive fuel hikes, a tax on sugar sweetened drinks and rising unemployment.
This also happens whilst workers see their hard earned taxes wasted by government. Everyday workers see managers, both public and private, gorging themselves, whilst pleading poverty when workers want to earn a few rands more to keep up with inflation.
Now we see bus owners wanting to run away from the very wage settlement they had agreed to. What makes this even worse is that Putco has just retrenched about 220 workers and cut a further 380 posts. These companies have the audacity to take these to make these submissions ,while they have just increased bus fares. They are pick pocketing the commuters while attacking workers.
These are the very same bus companies that gladly receive hundreds of millions of subsidies from the state, in other words, workers’ taxes. Their competitors, the taxies receive nothing. Government must wake up and come to the party and force these employers to behave and honour their agreements.
The Departments of Transport and Labour’s cannot afford to sleep on the job and the bus companies’ shocking behaviour threatens to undermine labour market stability and collapse collective bargaining.
COSATU warns that this blatant act of provocation is a recipe for chaos, conflict and anarchy. These belligerent employers must be forced to behave because another prolonged bus strike will collapse our already limping economy. COSATU stand ready to lead another bus strike that will shock the daylights out of these employers.
Statement issued by COSATU, 11 July 2018