Bus sector strike looms

A strike in the bus sector is looming as wage talks between unions and employers reached a deadlock.

South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) along with the other unions in the South African Road Passenger Bargaining Council have been granted a certificate to go on strike.

There is, however, a mandatory 30-day cooling off period unions have to observe before embarking on the strike. The cooling off period will end on 8 April. Parties can engage during this period if they choose but they are not obliged to.

The industry-wide wage talks kicked-off in late January but reached a deadlock in the second phase of negotiations last month. It was then that parties agreed to a CCMA mediation, when parties could not reach an agreement. In a statement, Satawu accused the employer associations of refusing to move, despite labour’s willingness to compromise.

“Although employers were aware that labour only had a mandate to negotiate a one-year agreement, they revoked the offer they had previously put on the table and replaced it with a three-year 7 per cent across-the-board year-on-year offer,” Satawu said in a statement.

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The union also stated that employers allegedly refused to entertain the demand for an industry minimum wage of R8 000 per month insisting instead that the current R5 575 be increased across-the-board. “In addition, the bus company associations would not extend the definition of night work to include work done between 6pm and 6am, opting to keep the status quo at 8pm to 3am. With regard to the various allowances such as the cross-border allowance, employers were only willing to give an across-the-board ATB increase.”

Satawu now has until 8 April to survey its members across the country to seek a mandate for what it dubbed ‘the mother of all strikes’.

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