Sorry for stranding you‚ but we must feed our families - Driver

Putco buses parked at a depot.
Putco buses parked at a depot.
Image: THULANI MBELE

Striking bus drivers camped outside the Putco depot in Dobsonville‚ Soweto‚ commiserate with stranded passengers whom they interact with daily‚ but are pleading for their understanding as they demand a pay hike.

"Almost every year we are doing one and the same thing. When there has to be an increment‚ there has to be fights like these. Imagine three hours in the morning taking the community to work‚ and in the afternoon‚ making sure you are taking them there safe. The company does not see that‚" said a driver‚ Mandla Dube.

Dube said they don't enjoy punishing commuters in the process but wish their grievances would be taken into account.

"The passengers are part of our families now. Because we take them to work‚ every morning. They are the people that we interact with. We feel what we saw on TV‚ they are stranded‚ we are saddened by that‚ but we have to do what we are doing‚" Dube said.

They have stationed themselves outside the depot‚ in the hope that a company representative will eventually speak to them.

"We are hoping that they will come to their senses and do the right thing. They must give the workers what they deserve. We want a 12 percent increase. Actually I don't know what to say‚ but this is heartbreaking‚" Dube added.

"We have families to feed. To think that in this company‚ we do not get a housing allowance or medical aid . . . we are not asking for much."

Employers are offering a 7% wage hike. Dube said the drivers are willing to stretch out the strike if they are not granted what they want.

As bus drivers across the country went on strike on Wednesday April 18 2018, commuters were left frustrated and running late. Drivers are demanding a 12% wage increase‚ while employers are offerin...

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