Transport minister Blade Nzimande intervenes in the bus strike

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Zodidi Mhlana

Wage negotiations between Transport Minister Blade Nzimande and other parties involved in the ongoing national bus strike have resumed today.

The talks resumed after employers and employees failed to reach an agreement during Tuesday’s negotiations.

“Minister Nzimande is meeting with the unions and employers to try and resolve the strike. On Tuesday, as unions we dropped our demands for the across the board wage increase to 9% for the first year and 8,5% for the second year and employers offered us 8% for the second year and 9% for the second year and said they will only pay that increase from the 1st of May which will mean that the workers will have an increase for 11 months which we did not think was acceptable,” Satawu spokesperson, Zanele Sabela said.

Thousands of bus drivers affiliated to South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu), National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and other three unions downed tools on Wednesday last week after wage talks with employer organisations, Commuter Bus Employers Organisation and South African Bus Employers Association (Sabea) collapsed.

Wage talks between the employer and the employee collapsed last week after the parties failed to reach an agreement last week.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) was also part of the talks held on Thursday and Friday.

The industrial action left thousands of commuters on Wednesday stranded countrywide and forced them to use alternative transport. Long distance commuters have been affected as well.

The unions also want the issue of dual drivers to be changed.

Numsa Secretary General Irvin Jim said: “You know that if you drive from Johannesburg to Cape Town, if you are in that bus as an alternative driver, according to these employers you are not at work, you can only be paid the hours you put your foot on the pedal. If you are not driving the bus, you are just accompanying the driver and you will not be paid. We reject this. We are calling on workers to remain united across all unions.”