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Taxi ranks flooded as Metrobus strike grounds 457 buses

By unknown | Feb 21, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Zinhle Mapumulo and Sapa

Zinhle Mapumulo and Sapa

The Metrobus strike took its toll on commuters yesterday as thousands were left stranded in Johannesburg.

The strike, started last month by the SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) had had little effect - but yesterday caused havoc when a total of 457 buses remained at their depots. Taxi ranks throughout Johannesburg strained to deal with the large number of stranded commuters.

Yesterday's action was the result of a series of violent incidents in which non-striking bus drivers had been attacked and killed while on duty.

The non-striking union, the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu), told members not to go to work because their lives may be in danger.

Metrobus managing director Bheki Shongwe confirmed that the buses were not operating because Imatu had called on its members not to go to work.

"We agree with Imatu that it is not safe to be driving buses at the moment.

"We really cannot force our employees to work when we know their lives may be in danger," said Shongwe.

He said Metrobus feared drivers may be attacked while transporting passengers, which would put commuters in danger.

On Monday, a bus driver was shot dead in Faraday. Another driver was shot and wounded a week ago in Kensington. No arrests have been made.

Samwu spokesman Dumisani Langa said a meeting between the union and employers was long overdue.

"I am surprised they are now prepared to find a way to end the strike," he said.

Samwu is in dispute with management over accumulated sick leave.


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