News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Thursday September 19th 2019

Kidrogen in driver dispute

My CITI BUSA feud has developed between a MyCiTi buses shareholding company and the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) over the dismissal of 16 MyCiTi bus drivers.

The initial 12 month operating contract between Kidrogen – a company formed by five taxi associations affected by the MyCiTi west coast trunk route – and the City of Cape Town was extended in February this year for two months, and then in April was extended by another six months.

However, when Kidrogen employees took their new six-month contracts to SATAWU, the union advised them not to sign.

Kidrogen Human Resource manager Patrick Mbangula said the union was unhappy with the the fact that there were extensions built into the contract at all as they said the original contract led the drivers to believe they would be employed on a long term basis.

Mbangula said as a result of the drivers’ refusal to sign the new extension of contract, 16 of them no longer worked for the company as from April 31.

He said 16 new drivers were trained to replace them and the new staff were currently working on a month-to-month contract.

The dismissed drivers have, through SATAWU, since taken Kidrogen to the South African Road Passenger Bargaining Council (SARPBAC) and at a bargaining council meeting on Monday they be insisted they be immediately reinstated.

Failure to do so should result in Kidrogen paying their salaries for one year, they argued.

Mbangula said Kidrogen had been given a week to respond, with the matter going to arbitration if the company refused.

Kidrogen CEO Big Boy Ncube said SATAWU encouraged its members to be “rebellious”.

“They’re really confusing our people. All of a sudden they (SATAWU) are interested in our bus drivers,” said Ncube.

One of the 16 dismissed bus drivers who, for fear of jeopardising his chances of being reinstated asked not to be named, said the fact they no longer worked for Kidrogen was “painful” but the union had convinced him and his fellow drivers not to sign the contract.

Repeated efforts to get comment from SATAWU Western Cape were fruitless as the Union Organisor dealing with the case said she was not mandated to speak to the media and those allowed to speak to the press were in meetings. — Peter Luhanga


Tags: Big-boy Ncube, Kidrogen, MyCiti, Patrick Mbangula, Satawu

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