Commuters around the country will have to continue using alternative means of transport for at least another day, as the ongoing bus strike is set to carry on, after a meeting between unions and employers failed to yield a compromise.
In a last ditch effort to end the strike, well into its third week, the two parties met on Thursday but, according to Fin24, could not reach an agreement, as the employers were unshaken on their original offer of a eight percent increase in the first year, followed by 8.5% in the second.
This is short of the worker’s demands, as the unions are seeking a 9.5% increase and, according to South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) spokesperson Zanele Sabela, the strike is set to continue, possibly going into a fourth week.
Bus strike latest details: No return to service in sight as Unions meet again
On Monday, Satawu explained that employers told unions to either accept a 9% increase or settle for a lower figure. Unions were initially demanding a 12% increase but other issues, such as overnight drivers, also need to be addressed.
“We come from the same communities, we share the same struggles but these bus drivers have to work 14 to 17 hours a day,” Sabela said on Thursday morning.
“The minimum wage they are offering is not enough, they have families and there are no benefits, no medical aid, no provident fund and, to top it off, the conditions they work in are bad.”
The bus operators have insisted that they cannot afford to cater for the unions’ demands, and have offered to settle on a minimum wage of R6 070 a month, far below the proposed R8 000.
Although they were not party to the negotiations, Labour Minister, Mildred Oliphant, alongside Transport Minister, Blade Nzimande were briefed on the two parties positions, and have both called for bus services to resume.