BUS AND taxi commuters should brace themselves for delays as some taxi drivers are expected to strike today and Golden Arrow bus drivers who transport commuters in areas such as Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain started a wild. cat strike yesterday.

“The Western Cape National Taxi Alliance has indicated that it will be embarking ona strike. The city has had several meetings with the taxi alliance and has negotiated in good faith to address their concerns, which include traffic fines, permits and warrants for arrest,” city spokesperson Kylie Hatton said.

The taxi strike could affect commuters across the city.

The bus drivers alleged the company reneged on an agreement to suspend one of its area managers whom they accused of racism. They placed sewer pipes outside the entrance to Golden Arrow’s depot in Philippi and used buses to block the main gate. At the Montana depot about150 drivers blockaded the entrance with rocks and pieces of concrete.

Golden Arrow spokesman Vuyisile Mdoda said bus services in some areas were disrupted. He did not know how many drivers were involved and was unsure how long they would strike.

“We beg our commuters to bear with us. This has taken us by surprise. We understand there are frustrations passengers are experiencing, but we are trying to have this matter resolved as soon as possible,” he said.

Mdoda said the depots. served Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain, among others.

He did not know of theagreement the workers claimed was signed by the company’s human resources manager and SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) provincial secretary Evan Abrahamse on July 31, Mdoda said. He promised to find out.

Satawu shop steward Nkululeko Ntetha showed a copy of the handwritten agreement in which Golden Arrow undertook to suspend its employee Rafiek Lackay. He also produced a list of suspended employees and pointed out that Lackay’s name was absent.

“What provoked us is that yesterday they suspended one of our drivers. We want that area manager removed immediately.” Ntetha said.

A notice on the gates at the Philippi depot warned drivers that their action was illegal.

But the warning was ignored and some copies of the notice were shredded.

Abrahamse said the union had not organised the work stoppage and that he had tried without success to persuade the drivers to return to work.

He said he was aware of the warning to drivers and that he would try to meet Golden Arrow management to resolve the matter.

“Everybody knows the union’s position on this. This is not a union action. I think it is regrettable that people who travel by bus are beiig affected by this,” Abrahamse said.

Hatton said additional law and traffic enforcement would be in place and that the public could report instances of yblence or intimidation to the City’s Metro Police Control Centre at 021 596 1999.

Source: Cape Times – Aziz Hartley