Crippling nationwide bus strike!

Protesters blockaded the entrance to the Megabus depot near Osisweni.

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The Bulletin Newspaper

A crippling nationwide bus strike that affected service in Govan Mbeki Municipality (GMM) started on Wednesday 18 April.
Protesters blockaded the entrance to the Megabus depot near Osisweni. Protests continued as negotiations were underway in Gauteng.
The strike means that there will be a significant increase in cars on the road countrywide because bus travellers will use minibus taxis or their own vehicles to get to work and back.
South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) spokesperson Zanele Sabela said Satawu, the Transport and Omnibus Workers’ Union, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and the Tirisano Transport Workers’ Union had been negotiating since January.
The negotiations have been facilitated by the South African Road Passenger Bargaining Council (SARPBC) with the employer associations, the Commuter Bus Employers’ Organisation and South African Bus Employers’ Association.
This is what is at stake:
• Unions want a 12% across the board wage increase;
• They want the minimum basic wage to be R8 000 per month;
• They want full pay for dual drivers on long distance;
• Unions want night shift to be between 16:00 and 06:00, instead of the current 20:00 to 03:00.
• Employers are offering a three-year across-the-board increase – 7% for year one, 7.25% for year two, and 7.5% for year three.
Workers also want to be compensated for “sleeping out”, and want “decent” accommodation.
The continued strike action comes as a result of failed wage negotiations between unions and employers over the course of a two-day meeting with the Commission of Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
Unions refuse to accept an 8% offer for this year and a further 8.5% for next year, saying the offer includes dropping other demands which include among others full pay for dual drivers and payment relating to night shift hours.
“The bus strike is continuing, we are intensifying the action,” South African Transport Workers and Allied Worker’s Union (Satawu) spokesperson Zanele Sabela said.
“We are calling on non-unionised members to down tools in order to put more pressure on employers to give us what we want.”
Commuters should brace themselves for more delays as there’s still no end in sight for the national bus strike.
A call for government intervention is being supported by the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco).
“Though the inconvenience affects hundreds of thousands of commuters that are bearing the brunt of the standoff, it is the poor working class commuting daily to and from work due to apartheid spatial planning that are the hardest hit as they cannot afford any alternative to the public transport system,” said Sanco spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu on Saturday.
The negotiations continued on Monday.

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