A failed motion to insource MyCiTi workers, put forward by the EFF at the City of Cape Town’s latest council meeting, spells a dead-end for hundreds of striking workers who have been dismissed from their jobs. After over three months of protest action over what they say is poor treatment by the MyCiTi Vehicle Operating Companies (VOCs) the only thing left for the strikers is to ask their former employers to give them back their jobs, said striking workers spokesperson Patrick Mabindisa.
About 260 MyCiTi workers went on an unprotected strike on 15 October last year. The strikers, including drivers, cashiers, and station cleaners, frequently clashed with police on the Civic Centre station deck. In mid-November they managed to gain access to the Civic Centre and shut down the City’s nerve centre from about 9am until after lunchtime.
The workers claimed the VOCs contracted by the City to run the MyCiTi service were failing to uphold their contractual obligations and they wanted to be employed directly by the City. Initially, says Mabindisa, they intended to only down tools for a day and protest outside the Civic Centre so they could air their grievances to City officials. “We only wanted to be there for one day,” he said, “but no-one came out to listen to our concerns.
” Their quest to be insourced received political support from the EFF which put a motion to council on 31 January, but was not successful. Council Speaker Dirk Smit would not release the vote count, or even confirm that a vote had taken place. Smit said the information would be contained in the minutes at the next council meeting.
But the motion was published on the council agenda and EFF councillor and provincial secretary Andrew Arnolds said the majority DA voted against insourcing.