Wits bus drivers refuse to accept new work schedule which allegedly seeks to do away with paid overtime.
WITS BUS drivers are up in arms over changes to their work schedule, that they say they were not consulted about.
According to the drivers, Wits Services transport manager Timothy Mudau aims to change their hours and will no longer pay drivers for overtime during weekend shifts.
A group of about 20 drivers met with leaders of the National Health Education & Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) outside of the School of Architecture on Thursday morning, February 21, to express their disapproval of the new schedule which is expected to be effective by the end of February.
They told Nehawu branch secretary Tumisho Madihlaba that they are not willing to accept the new proposed schedule because Mudau had not communicated it to them, but only to the shop steward Risenga Maluleka on February 4, at the Professional Development Hub building. Maluleka then informed the drivers on Wednesday, February 20, about the proposed changes.
According to the workers, Maluleka told them that Mudau said the new schedule would be implemented at the beginning of March “whether the workers like it or not”.
“The concern is that Tim (Mudau) is going to implement schedule A and B next week and yet our workers have not yet seen [schedule C]. Without seeing what is happening in C, we cannot sign this. It cannot be implemented until it is signed,” said Nehawu’s Madihlaba.
An unhappy Wits bus driver , *David Ndlovu, told Wits Vuvuzela, “When we were hired by Wits, we signed contracts which said that we were going to work for five days of the week while Saturday and Sunday are meant for overtime. Now there are changes.
“They are saying the new Wits policy, which we don’t even know, stipulates that we should work both on weekdays and weekends without getting paid overtime,” the driver said.
Most of the workers that Wits Vuvuzela spoke to said they were happy with their current hours which have been effective since 2017 and cannot afford to work on weekends without getting paid.
They say their contracts stipulate that they work for a total of 42.5 hours for five days of the week. A shift of 8.5 hours daily accumulates to the said total and any additional hours are considered overtime and have to be paid by the bus service.
“By law, Saturday and Sunday shifts are overtime which pays us around R1 500. They do not want to pay us for those weekend hours. They want to make us work less during the week and more during the weekend so that all seven days amount to 42.5 hours,” Ndlovu said.
Another worker, *Phillip Mabuza said, “Tim Mudau communicated that if an employee accumulates extra hours which exceed the 42.5, they will not be paid for them. The employee will get an off day which amounts to those extra hours.
Mabuza complained that management would rather “hire drivers from Stabus and pay over R1500 for hiring a bus and a driver as opposed to paying us less than R500 for those extra hours”.
“This new schedule will be disturbing operations which are already running smoothly with a schedule which will confuse us as drivers. Tim would rather hire outsiders than us Wits workers,” Mabuza added.
While other drivers suggested that Mudau should be replaced with a manager who will have “the best interests of workers at heart”, Madihlaba said that Nehawu members needed to urgently address Mudau with the workers’ grievances.
“We are going to have a meeting with Tim to raise the concerns around schedule C, because clearly there is no problem with A and B. They are accusing him of hiding schedule C because he wants to bring in outside drivers.
“They are going to call a meeting with the management of transport along with the workers soon because [Mudau] wants to implement [the new schedule] next week.”
Attempts to reach Mudau for comment were not successful by the time of going to print.
*Not their real names