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The shift system at heart of the strike by Metrobus drivers is being discussed by the City and the South African Municipal Workers’ Union to resolve the impasse.
THE City and the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) are in talks to resolve the shift schedule that has caused Metrobus drivers to go on strike.

These talks come after drivers belonging to Samwu went on strike on Wednesday, 9 February against the new shift schedule.

According to Metrobus spokesperson, Esther Dreyer, changes were made to the shift system after it was discovered that some of the buses were travelling empty and that there were drivers who worked fewer than eight hours.

“Many of our buses were under-utilised … All we did was to add more hours for drivers working fewer hours,” said Dreyer. “As a municipal entity that is using taxpayer’s money, we are trying our best to make our services more cost effective.”

Metrobus was doing everything it could to reduce disruption.

Fanwell Tshikova, the cluster chairperson at Samwu, said the drivers were not happy with the new shifts imposed by management. He implored Metrobus management to resuscitate the shift system that was in place before 6 December 2010.

“Metrobus imposed shifts that were not approved by the majority of drivers,” said Tshikova.

He noted that new shifts were strenuous and did not allow drivers to spend time with their families. “We want Metrobus to establish a task team that will determine if these shifts are necessary.”

The strike has left many commuters throughout the city stranded.

Bus drivers went on strike on 6 December in response to the new shift system put into operation on that day. At the time, Metrobus obtained an urgent court interdict compelling them to return to work and operate new shifts.

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