|Violent strikers arrested at Civic Centre station||<p><strong><em>At least five striking workers were arrested just before midday today, 23 October 2018, when the South African Police Service intervened to protect the MyCiTi Civic Centre station against protesters who are in defiance of a court order and hell-bent on disrupting the MyCiTi service. Read more below:</em></strong> </p><p>Several workers employed by companies contracted by the City to provide the MyCiTi service embarked on an unprotected strike last week Monday, 15 October 2018. Although these are not City employees, I have been in contact with union representatives since last week. My offer still stands that I am available to meet with the legitimate representatives of the strikers – these are the unions who represent the employees.</p><p>The City obtained an urgent court order from the Western Cape High Court on Thursday evening, 18 October 2018, to protect MyCiTi passengers, personnel and assets.</p><p>Despite this court order, strikers continued their attacks on the service, its personnel, passengers, and assets. Those employees who are working to ensure our residents can get to work or school and are being intimidated, assaulted, attacked and prevented from operating the MyCiTi service.</p><p>At around 11:50 this morning, 23 October 2018, the South African Police Service used stun grenades to disperse a group of strikers who were gathering in the red bus lane at the Civic Centre station and preventing buses from operating. Five people were arrested.</p><p>These strikers were in defiance of the court order interdicting them from:</p><ul><li>intimidating, harassing, or assaulting MyCiTi personnel and passengers; </li><li>damaging MyCiTi stations, depots, and buses; and</li><li>gathering at, or coming closer than 100 m from, MyCiTi stations, depots, or buses</li></ul><p>In addition, the companies who are contracted by the City and employ the workers have taken steps to dismiss the workers who have been participating in the unprotected strike. The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has fomented an illegal strike and now those who have listened to them are at risk of losing their jobs, or have already lost their jobs.</p><p>Since the court order was granted, the strikers have intensified their attacks on the service. Yesterday afternoon, 22 October 2018, a MyCiTi bus was petrol bombed in Kuyasa in Khayelitsha, and another bus was targeted later in the evening close to Mew Way.</p><p>The violence intensified this morning, 23 October 2018, when strikers started targeting the buses operating the N2 Express routes between the Cape Flats and the city. At least four buses were stoned in Khayelitsha shortly before the peak hour period commenced at 05:00 and, as a result, services had been either suspended, or the buses were deviated and escorted.</p><p>The intimidation of bus drivers was also rife in Atlantis over the weekend, with bus drivers operating the feeder routes being threatened with firearms on Saturday morning.</p><p>Passengers have been too scared to use the Civic Centre station for days now. Apart from barricading some of the red bus lanes, the strikers have also managed to enter several MyCiTi stations, removing those workers who have reported for duty while at the same time threatening and intimidating passengers. This has been the strikers’ modus operandi since they have embarked on this unprotected strike.</p><p>The striking workers are employed by the Vehicle Operating Companies and the Station Management Company who are contracted by the City to operate the MyCiTi service. </p><p>The unprotected strike is in contravention of the Labour Relations Act, and those participating are not getting paid while being absent from work; and they will face disciplinary action, if they have not been dismissed already.</p><p>The MyCiTi bus drivers are represented by trade unions and their conditions of employment are the subject of a collective bargaining agreement. The annual national wage negotiations take place at the South African Road Passenger Bargaining Council (SARPBAC) National Bargaining Forum.</p><p>A wage agreement was reached on 21 May 2018, following a protracted four-week strike in April. Employees at the time signed an agreement whereby they committed to refrain from strike action over wages and terms of conditions until 31 March 2020.</p><p>About 60 000 passengers rely on the MyCiTi bus service each weekday to get to and from work. They have been robbed of this much-needed public transport service; and worse, over the past eight days, they have had to fork out money for other modes of transport after they had already bought Mover points.</p><p>We have been trying over the past eight days to operate the MyCiTi service as best we can despite the continuous attacks. On this note, I want to thank those employees, the South African Police Service and the City’s Metro Police Service who continue to assist us in delivering this essential service in the face of intimidation.
</p><p>Save for the inner city routes, most of the MyCiTi trunk and feeder routes were operational during the morning peak hour period, and will operate during the afternoon peak hour period as well.</p><p>We have been requesting commuters to make alternative travelling plans for as long as the unprotected strike continues. We are monitoring the situation and will update commuters accordingly.</p><p>Monthly ticketholders will be reimbursed with the number of days that they could not make use of the service due to the strike action.</p><p>Commuters can contact the Transport Information Centre 24/7 on 0800 65 64 63 for the latest information regarding the service, or follow <a href="https://twitter.com/MyCiTiBus" target="_blank">@MyCiTibus</a> on Twitter, or visit the facebook page ‘MyCiTi Integrated Rapid Transit System’ as changes to the operating schedule can happen at any time, given the unpredictability of the current situation.</p><p><strong>End</strong>