gauteng to be crippled

Getrude Makhafola

Services in Gauteng municipalities are expected to grind to a halt next Thursday when workers down tools in support of the Metrobus strike.

The strike by the Cosatu-aligned South African Municipal Workers Union members will affect service delivery in the entire province, union officials said.

Metrobus and its drivers are deadlocked over salary progression negotiations.

The workers have been on strike for three weeks.

Samwu wants the entry level to start at zero to three years, followed by a medium level of three to six years and then a six-year upward level.

Metrobus says this would mean that 30percent of the employees would move to the "highest level" on implementation.

Samwu said it would start by mobilising its Johannesburg workers on Monday.

"We will be having a mobilising meeting at Library Gardens next week, and this will be followed by a full-blown strike on Thursday throughout the province," said Samwu organiser Vincent Vena.

He said notices had already been sent to the province's eleven municipalities regarding the secondary strike.

Cosatu said it supported the planned secondary strike.

"Their (Metrobus's) attitude shows the danger of running a publicly-owned utility, which is supposed to be providing a public service, as if it were a private company only interested in making a profit," said spokesman Patrick Craven in a statement.

Meanwhile, executive mayor Amos Masondo has allocated R419 million to Metrobus in his 2009-2010 budget yesterday.