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The South African Municipal Workers Union has vowed to intensify the Metrobus strike until workers' demands are met.
No agreement was reached between the union and management yesterday and the matter was referred to the bargaining council.
"After a lengthy meeting with us, management held their own caucus.
"A few minutes later they said to us that they had no money," said Samwu Gauteng chairperson Enock Sibiya.
He said management had suggested that the negotiations and the strike be suspended.
"We said we would continue with the strike until they agree to our demands," Sibiya said.
At least 500 drivers and about 300 support staff - all of them aligned to the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union - downed tools yesterday.
Taxis cashed in as thousands of commuters turned to taxi ranks for transport.
Thobani Mkhulisi, a Rosettenville driver, said he was hired nine years ago and that his salary had remained the same. He earns R7200 a month before deductions.
"I report to work at 3am every day. I earn the same as the person hired yesterday. This is not fair," he said.
The union is protesting against the different salary bands in the company.
The labour court granted them permission last week to embark on a protected strike.
Also on their agenda is a complaint against a senior manager whom they accused of corruption after he allegedly entertained law enforcement agencies during the 2007 strike.
Thousands of commuters are likely to be stranded again today.
Metrobus spokesperson Kenneth Kutu said the expiry date on commuters' tags would be extended.
The last strike action by Metrobus drivers was in 2007.
Two drivers who were working were killed, while another bus was burnt to the ground.
The strike, which lasted two months, was over sick leave pay and reinstating fired workers.