Putco bus drivers continue with illegal strike despite dismissal letters

Putco buses. File Picture:Bhekikhaya Mabaso

Putco buses. File Picture:Bhekikhaya Mabaso

Published Sep 7, 2022


Pretoria – Despite the Public Utility Transport Corporation (Putco) issuing dismissal letters to at least 1 000 striking bus drivers, they continued with the illegal strike on Wednesday in New Canada, south of Johannesburg.

The strike started in the morning with workers burning tyres and demonstrating outside the bus depot.

In the afternoon, the striking workers engaged in a standoff with South African Police Service (SAPS) members after they refused to let management leave the premises.

Police had to fire rubber bullets to disperse the angry crowd.

Gauteng police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Mavela Masondo was unavailable to comment on the matter.

Workers are demanding a 6% salary increase and bonuses for 2020.

The commuter transport company has offered to increase the salaries by 3% and said the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, affected its financial sustainability making it hard to pay the bonuses.

The strike has inconvenienced more than 22 000 commuters in the last six days.

Speaking to IOL, Putco spokesperson Lindokuhle Xulu said the business was affected by the action of the workers, who embarked on strike action at the depots in Dobsonville, Putcoton and Roseville.

“We understand that our commuters are suffering and because this was unforeseen, however, the company doesn’t have a contingency plan for commuters, but we are thinking of ways to reimburse them by extending their expired tickets which they did not use during the strike.”

Regarding the dismissal letters, Xulu said the company received a bulk of emails from workers with representations, indicating why they should not be dismissed after they engaged in the unlawful strike.

“The company still has to go through the emails and decided who stays and who is leaving, whoever is fired and continues to disrupt bus services, will be handled by SAPS,” he said.