Thari bus service workers on strike
COSATU NW is highly disappointed at the manner in which some of the employers and service providers are exploiting unprotected strikes that are taking place in the province.
The federation is busy intervening on the unprotected strike created by the service provider and the Financial Services Board (FSB) that was appointed by the board of trustee to administrate the Thari Bus Service Provident Fund.
It must be recorded that the board resolved to dissolve the Thari Bus Service Provident Fund in 2011 as mandated by the workers, rightly or wrongly. The board misled the workers into believing that their fund must be terminated and that workers would get what is due to them. This was done last year and no one from either the employer or the FSB advised workers regarding the procedure, until today when the provincial secretary of COSATU was requested by workers to intervene on their demand of 2011 which was agreed by both SATAWU and TAWUSA.
Over 400 workers are on an unprotected strike for the second week due to the fund not being paid into their pockets as they were promised. Workers are demanding that their money be paid in to their account as per the mandated agreed by the board of trustee in 2011.
COSATU NW wants to warn the employers and some of service providers not to use workers to achieve their own goals of weakening the trade unions, in particular those affiliated to COSATU. We also want to request workers not agree to be used against their own unions. The unions that have a majority have a responsibility to make sure that when workers complain, those complaints must be addressed by the employer and feedback must be given to the workers in a mass meeting, not on a notice board.
COSATU NW is calling for the board of trustees, the administrator and the FSB who misled workers on the dissolution of the fund to pay workers what is due to them, or to come up with a program on when they are going to pay workers what is due to them as they misled workers in 2011.
We are also calling the FSB to stop playing with the emotions of workers who were misled by the signed agreement which promised to pay what was in their fund.
The meeting with trustees, the liquidators and the FSB is continuing tomorrow, to find a solution to the matter, as workers are saying they are not prepared to go back to work if they are not clear on how and when the agreement signed in 2011 is to be implemented.
As the federation it must be recorded that we are not happy with the manner in which workers are misled or used for personal interests. It is not in the interests of workers to get their provident fund while they are still employed. Our understanding is that the fund must be paid when workers are dismissed, die or retire.
What is also disappointing is that workers are complaining that some of the workers who were dismissed even before the dissolution have not yet received the money for the past 2 years. This is why workers are no longer trusting the board that their money is safe.
As COSATU we discourage all workers in the province from falling into the same trap of demanding the provident fund while still employed. We all have financial problems but the fund is for workers during their retirements or when no longer working.
We are requesting those who are members of COSATU to inform the federation when they are confronted by that situation. We are also calling all members to report all their critical issues to the federation if they are not happy with their unions before they are embarking on any unprotected action.
Media is invited to a feedback mass meeting to the striking workers today, Wednesday 26 September, 15h00 at Thari Bus Company Premises. Mothutlung, Brits.
For more information feel free to call COSATU NW Provincial Secretary Solly Phetoe