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​Drivers have again put the brakes on, calling their second illegal strike within a month. Attempts are being made for skeleton staff to run services.
BUS services for the Gautrain have once again been brought to a screeching halt by an illegal strike.

Although the bus management company, Mega Express, is attempting to introduce a skeleton staff on all routes, it is unclear when the problem will be resolved.

“Gautrain management is massively frustrated and extremely angry at this latest illegal industrial action on the part of bus drivers,” said an executive of the Bombela Concession Company, Errol Braithwaite, on 1 February.

This follows the bus drivers’ unprocedural strike on 9 January, which resulted in a court interdict being issued on 13 January ordering drivers to go back to work. Drivers were demanding the company provide transport for them to and from work.

As the strike was illegal, Gautrain management took disciplinary action against the drivers involved. The affected drivers retaliated by applying for their own interdict.

The Johannesburg Labour Court dismissed their application on 1 February. “[It] appears to have been the catalyst for the drivers once again deserting their routes,” said Braithwaite.

An ultimatum was issued to all striking drivers to be back at work by 3pm on 1 February, but was ignored, meaning once again disciplinary action will be taken. This means that bus services have been suspended until further notice.

“We sincerely apologise to our long-suffering bus customers for the disruption they are once again suffering,” he said. “Like them, we have had enough of being held to ransom by individuals who think they can disregard the law and hold to ransom a project which has been paid for and is used by tax payers and which is the pride of the entire nation.”

Updates will be sent to passengers via the SMS service when more information becomes available. Passengers can SMS the word “alert” to 32693 to receive service updates. It costs R1 to subscribe but is free thereafter.

Gautrain buses run from the Johannesburg CBD, Park Station, to the Rosebank Station and bus feeders run within a 10km radius, including areas such as Auckland Park, Killarney and Parktown. Gautrain bus services are planned to run in conjunction with the City’s Bus Rapid Transit system, Rea Vaya.

Routes and timetables can be found on the Gautrain website.

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