Frustrated Metrobus commuters appeal to company, union to reach agreement

Commuters, who depend on the bus service have been forced to find alternative means of transport as the strike enters its eighth day.

FILE: Workers who are affiliated with union Demawusa are demanding an 18 % salary increase, a R15,000 COVID-19 allowance and a 14th cheque among others. Picture: Mia Lindeque/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - Frustrated Joburg commuters left stranded by the ongoing Metrobus strike have on Wednesday pleaded with the company and its bus drivers from the minority union to reach an agreement.

Commuters, who depend on the bus service have been forced to find alternative means of transport as the strike enters its eighth day on Thursday.

Workers who are affiliated with union Demawusa are demanding an 18 % salary increase, a R15,000 COVID-19 allowance and a 14th cheque among others.

The company said it was cautious about putting the buses back on the road despite the loss in revenue over the past two weeks, saying it was unable to ensure the safety of drivers and passengers.

Management at Metrobus has refused to negotiate with union officials, while workers have accused management of approaching the matter with arrogance.

While the Metrobus management and Demawusa continue to be at loggerheads, Joburg residents are bearing the brunt of the indefinite strike.

One commuter said the union’s requests were unreasonable while management must consider the impact on its customers.

“I think Metrobus should meet them halfway and also the union must be reasonable. You can’t be getting two digits in the middle of a pandemic. It is affecting us.”

Meanwhile, Metrobus spokesperson Goodwill Shiburi said commuters would have to dig even deeper in their pockets to get by.

“So it costs them, based on the numbers that we move every day, R320,000 extra because they now have to use alternative transport.”

The service covers over 300 scheduled routes including 128 school routes in Johannesburg. While at least 30,000 commuters are being impacted daily.

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.