Numsa calls for Mbalula to intervene after Putco threatens to fire striking bus drivers | The Citizen

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has called for the Department of Transport to intervene in the Putco strike after the bus company threatened to dismiss 1 000 employees.

Disgruntled Putco drivers started their strike at the Soweto, Mpumalanga and Pretoria depots last week. They are demanding a salary increase and for backpay.

The bus company said it can only give the workers a 3% increase. They also said the wage strike was unprotected and illegal.

ALSO READ: Putco to fire 1000 employees for embarking on illegal strike

Putco threatened to fire 1 000 drivers by Wednesday if they did not return to work. The bus company said they should send through written submissions explaining why they should not be dismissed.

Despite termination threats, it seems there is no end in sight as the drivers vowed to continue striking.

The drivers said they were not interested in returning to work until they receive the bonuses that were promised to them.

Numsa wants Mbalula to get involved

Numsa said it is left with no choice but to call on Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula to intervene. It also called on the Department of Transport to stop subsidising the bus company.

“The department of transport in our view cannot continue to pay and subsidise a bus company that is anti-worker, union bashing, and selfish to the extreme as clearly its senior management is only prepared to pocket every rand and cent of the cash flow of that company, and share nothing with workers,” it said.

The union also criticised Putco’s management for applying for an urgent interdict to end the strike.

“We condemn the management of Putco for abusing the courts in this manner with a frivolous application. They should be engaging unions with the view of resolving this impasse, not launching applications in court,” said Numsa General Secretary, Irvin Jim.

On Tuesday, the protestors burnt tyres and barricaded the New Canada depot in Soweto, preventing management from leaving the premises.

Numsa claims Putco can afford wage increase

Numsa on Thursday called Putco “greedy and selfish” for threatening to dismiss the workers.

“In 2020 the South African Road Passenger Bargaining Council (SARPBC) signed a collective agreement for a 6% increase and also the payment of the annual bonus. Putco is a party to the bargaining council and the increase applied to them as well,” said Jim.

According to Numsa, the bus company has applied to be exempted from the 6% increase at the SARPBC but has been rejected twice.

“We were vindicated when the commissioner confirmed that indeed Putco management can afford to pay the increase. 

“The bus company had the audacity to plead poverty but rewarded its executives with a 7% increase. At the same time a whopping R60 million was paid to Carleo Enterprises, which is owned by an Italian family which owns 49% of Putco,” Jim said.

NOW READ: Putco workers vow to continue strike action, despite termination threats

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