What next in ongoing bus strike saga?

Putco buses parked at a depot.
Putco buses parked at a depot.
Image: THULANI MBELE

The bus stops here - but negotiations between labour unions and bus companies will resume on Thursday as they aim to end the national bus strike.

Commuters had to grit their teeth to navigate long‚ frustrating queues to board taxis‚ trains and share lifts as the strike got under way on Wednesday.

Wage negotiations between South African Road Passenger Bargaining Council (SARPBAC)‚ the Commuter Bus Employers Organisation and SA Bus Employers Association started in January this year and deadlocked last month.

Negotiations will‚ however‚ resume on Thursday at 10am at the Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and will continue on Friday if necessary.

SARPBAC includes the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu)‚ Transport and Allied Workers Union‚ the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and the Tirisano Transport and Services Workers Union.

Employees want a 12% wage increase‚ while employers are offering a 7% increase‚ 7.25% increase the next year‚ and a 7.3% increase in 2020 with a basic minimum wage set at R6‚070.

Satawu passenger bus national coordinator Solomon Mahlangu said on Wednesday evening in an interview with the SABC their goal is to hit the employers of bus drivers and the economy “very hard”.

“They rake [in a] lot of money‚ whereas the driver becomes the dog of a hunter. The hunter will always take meat and the dog gets bones‚” said Mahlangu.

What the unions wants:

- 12% wage increase;

- Pay for all hours drivers spend on the bus‚ if they are driving or not;

- Subsistence allowance for drivers who are doing long distance travel and have to sleep on the road;

- Night shift allowance in compliance with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act; and

- Special allowance for workers who qualify to drive buses with two or three coaches.

Who is striking?

- Megabus;

- Gautrain buses;

- Greyhound;

- Golden Arrow;

- Putco;

- MyCiti in Cape Town;

- Rea Vaya in Johannesburg;

- Buscor in Mpumalanga;

- Bojanala in the North West;

- Algoa Bus in Port Elizabeth;

- Mayibuye in East London;

- Go George in George;

- Areyeng in Tshwane;

- Mgqibelo in Sedibeng;

- Lowveld Bus Company in Limpopo;

- PAL Bus; and

- Mphakathi in Mpumalanga.

Who is not striking?

- Joburg Metrobus;

- Tshwane Bus Service; and

- Durban Transport.

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