GroundUp writes that a strike over wages by bus drivers in the Eastern Cape has paralysed the transport system in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. Libhongolethu Bus Services operates a fleet of buses in the northern areas of Port Elizabeth. The buses are owned by the municipality which has subcontracted Spectrum Alert, a private company, to run the routes. The bus workers embarked on a strike four weeks ago and on Monday employees who had not yet joined in the strike did so, paralysed the bus system. About 300 workers are taking part in the strike, not represented by any union.
The workers accuse Spectrum Alert of paying them late and deducting provident fund, unemployment insurance and other benefits from their wages but failing to send the money to the funds, a claim denied by the company. Meanwhile, the municipality blames Spectrum Alert for causing discontent among workers leading to the strike. Mayoral spokesperson George Geleba said the company submitted its invoices to the municipality late. But Spectrum Alert CEO Trevor Harper blamed the municipality for the late payment. Harper said he had met the workers on Monday and Tuesday. The workers had recently delivered a petition to the municipality with their demands but efforts by Mayco Member for Transport, Rosie Daaminds and officials to resolve the impasse had been unsuccessful, lsaid Geleba.
by Joseph Chirume