News / South Africa

Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
25 Apr 2018
2:22 pm

Striking transport workers interdicted

Ilse de Lange

One of the country's largest passenger transport companies has been given an interdict against five unions.

Ongoing threats of violence against the non-striking drivers of one of the country’s largest passenger transport companies, Intercape, has resulted in an urgent interdict against five transport unions and their members who are taking part in the national transport strike.

Judge Vivian Tlhapi today granted an interdict to stop Numsa, Satawu and three other transport unions and their members from interfering with the free movement and access of Intercape’s employees, drivers and passengers to their bus stops, ticket sales offices and coaches.

They were also interdicted from committing any criminal acts, including acts of violence, vandalism and damage to Intercape’s premises and vehicles.

Intercape’s industrial relationship manager Jan Augustyn said in court papers none of their employees was a member of any of the five unions, but Intercape was bound by the collective wage agreements of the SA Road Passenger Bargaining Council, which have been extended to non-members.

Intercape did not participate in ongoing wage negotiations, as it was not a member of the Bargaining Council and had already finalised and implemented its own generous wage increase, which its employees have accepted.

Intercape’s employees were therefore not party to the national transport strike, which commenced on 18 April.

Augustyn said the unions and their members had a history of very violent industrial action targeted at Intercape and their non-striking employees, and passengers have in the past been subjected to acts of extreme violence and intimidation by striking workers.

The union members seemed determined to specifically target Intercape, although the company had no means to resolve its grievances or influence the outcome of the national wage negotiations, he added.

In 2015, an attempt was made on the life of Intercape’s CEO Johann Ferreira, shots were fired at coaches, a petrol bomb was thrown at a coach resulting in the death of two passengers and others were seriously injured; there were several petrol bombings of coaches and the houses of drivers.

The same pattern of violence was repeated in 2017 and Intercape was now again being targeted.

Augustyn said the situation became so volatile at Park Station on Tuesday, with strikers violently jerking passenger from their coaches and intimidating passengers, that they had to suspend their operations.

The same thing was now happening at the Pretoria station and pleas to the police and metro police for protection and intervention had fallen on deaf ears.

He said Intercape stood to suffer damages of some R3.5 million a day and some 1 300 passengers would be stranded every day if they had to stop operations.