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Gautrain bus drivers vow to fight on

Aug 23 2012 13:01 Sapa

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Johannesburg - Gautrain bus drivers fired last year after an illegal strike have vowed to fight on until they are all reinstated, a spokesperson said on Thursday.

"Our case is with the Labour Court. We are going to pursue the case through the court and other means," said Ben Phama, a spokesperson for the fired drivers.

Phama said they would pursue "other means" before pushing on with their court case. He declined to elaborate.

"I wouldn't want to divulge that kind of information in case the employer finds out and tries to block it," Phama said.

The Gauteng legislature failed earlier in the week to broker a compromise that would see some of the employees return to work.

Phama was one of more than 300 bus drivers and other employees fired last year by Mega Express, a contractor which operates the Gautrain buses.

The drivers rejected the legislature's proposal, which would have returned 150 bus drivers to work, as inadequate and because it did not address the issues that led to the strike.

"Their offer to re-employ only 150 of us, less than half, without addressing the very work conditions that caused the protest in the first place, meant we couldn't sign on the dotted line," Phama said.

Phama said workers had already compromised on their demand for all fired workers to be reinstated. They now wanted the 182 workers who had been attending weekly meetings to push their case forward to get their jobs back.

The workers claimed they were never paid for working overtime, wanted better transport allowances, and for a lawsuit brought by Mega Express against one of their lawyers, Kevin van Huyssteen, to be dropped.

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