Having reversed its decision to retrench more than 200 employees, bus company Putco has revealed that talks with the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) helped save the employees their jobs.
Last month, Putco announced that it would retrench 214 employees as the company faced financial constraints due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, the bus company withdrew its retrenchment process following the Section 189 negotiations.
Speaking on 702, Putco managing director Franco Pisapia said both the company and Numsa agreed to rescheduling staff and reducing overtime in order to avoid retrenchments.
“We had in the past put a proposal that was rejected by all the unions, including Numsa, which have avoided the particular retrenchments. We embarked on a process, during which we said let’s look at our proposal again, which we did.
“We came to a solution that would be appropriate in terms of dealing with the situation by means of rescheduling staff, reducing overtime and we got the buy-in from the labour unions to assist us in this process, therefore avoiding retrenchments,” he said.
Numsa has welcomed the withdrawal of the retrenchment process, while also saying the bus company had originally planned to let go of 600 employees in the early stages of the Section 189 negotiations.
“Putco raised two crucial issues, the decline in the number of passengers to the Covid-19 lockdown and the decline in revenue, which prompted us to ask them to disclose more information so that we can be able to understand if indeed the revenue has declined or not,” Numsa national organiser Frederick Mabasa said.
“We also responded to them to say we believe what you are telling us is not correct.”
Mabasa said the union made a number of proposals during the negotiations before Putco could decide on whether to go ahead with the retrenchments or not.
“When you go to a Section 189 you need to listen to one another and any proposal that is going to be put forward. Management doesn’t have to reject everything that we are saying.
“They must listen, maybe it will yield positive results where staff won’t have to be retrenched,” he said.
Putco has a fleet of 1,400 buses that transport more than 210,000 passengers daily and the company operates in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo.
The company employs more than 3,600 employees with about 25,200 persons dependent on the company for their livelihood.