Numsa blasts bus drivers’ ‘sellout deal’

Union blames rival organisations for signing 9% wage deal that ended nationwide strike

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has called the three unions that signed an agreement to end the nationwide bus drivers’ strike sellouts.

The strike was called off on Friday after the unions accepted a 9% wage offer.

Addressing about 40 drivers opposite the Algoa Bus depot in Korsten yesterday, Numsa regional organiser Dawid Baardman said drivers from the other unions should join Numsa.

“They sold them out and signed the agreement. Those members must now join Numsa,” he said.

His view was shared by Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim, who said at the weekend that the union had accepted the sellout deal for the sake of stability in the sector.

Numsa had wanted a doubledigit pay increase.

Baardman said they were forced to call off the strike after the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu), the Transport and Allied Workers Union of SA (Tawusa) and the Transport and Omnibus Workers Union (Towu) reached a wage agreement with the various companies.

The agreement included a 10% increase in the allowance for long-distance trips, cross-border travel and night shift.

Baardman accused the three unions of not getting a mandate from their members before signing the agreement.

“As Numsa, we do not take a decision for our members, we get the mandate from you, ” he said.

Baardman urged the Numsa members to use the 12-month period of the signed agreement to recruit from the other unions.

Satawu general secretary Zenzo Mahlangu and Towu general secretary Tony Franks denied they were sellouts.

“Calling other people sellouts because you are trying to recruit members is nonsense,” Mahlangu said.

“Numsa is talking nonsense. Our members were consulted.

“Numsa does not have the numbers to sustain the strike.

“But if they are not happy with the offer, they must carry on striking.” Franks said: “Numsa is not the majority union in the bargaining council, it is the minority.

“Our workers were consulted – we actually went on a ballot.

“The decision came from our members after they voted on it.” Union members from Tawusa could not be reached for comment.

On Saturday, Jim said: “Despite being the second-biggest trade union in the sector, we had to accept this sellout deal for the sake of industrial peace and stability in the sector‚ and therefore urge all our members to return to work.”

He said it would take time for all members to get back to work.

“We expect that by Tuesday [today] all our members should be back at work,” Jim said.

Jim also warned employers that the union would not tolerate any victimisation of its members for participating in the strike.

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