The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) says government has a duty to intervene in the retrenchments at bus company Putco, as the reasons given for the job cuts are unjustifiable. 

Putco has announced plans to retrench 214 employees. In a statement, the company says like most businesses, it has been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown regulations.  

However, Numsa‘s Phakamile Hlubi-Majola says when the company entered the Section 189 process last year, consultations highlighted wasteful expenditure by management which was ultimately ignored.  

Hlubi-Majola says government has an obligation to intervene and save the livelihoods of those workers as Putco is state-funded.

Putco is a company which is subsidised by the state. One of the things that we picked up, for example when we were in discussions with them, we didn’t feel that that the explanations around the money and how they came to this situation were backed up by COVID-19 as a reason. What we picked up was a lot of wastage on the side of management. Examples, where outsourcing was taking place when you have staff that can do the work and these are things that we raised with them. We are not entirely convinced that these retrenchments are justifiable. We do feel that government has a duty to intervene. 

The announcement by Putco comes on the back Greyhound’s announcement that they too have reached the end of the road. The country is still reeling in shock following news yesterday that the flagship long-distance luxury bus service, Greyhound, will soon be no more due to bad trading conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shock as Greyhound bus service collapses: Phakamile Hlubi-Majola