SA bus strike continues

The Cape Town Bus Terminus was completely deserted on Friday 19 April 2013 as bus drivers embarked on a nationwide strike for higher wages. Picture: Chanel September/EWN"
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CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - As a countrywide bus driver’s strike continues this week the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the weekend said the industrial action will hit productivity in the workplace hard.

Thousands of bus drivers downed tools on Friday leaving scores of commuters stranded or forced to wait in long lines to use alternative modes of transport. 

The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) want an 18 percent wage increase while employers are only offering a 6,5 percent hike.

Golden Arrow management said negotiations are ongoing while there are reports unions and employers at other companies have deadlocked in wage negotiations.

The chamber's Viola Manuel said, “Our request is that management please be patient. We’re asking them to find as many ways as they can to support their workers because they are going to be affected by the strike.”

She said all managers should keep the strike in mind as it may cause punctuality issues.

“There’s going to be a spike around absenteeism and punctuality as well.”

“We’re always aware and concerned about that element that will look at this as an opportunity to engage in illegal activity such as vandalism and intimidation,” Manuel added.

Meanwhile in Johannesburg, the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit System has also announced it will join the national bus strike.

The City of Johannesburg’s Executive Director Lisa Seftel said, “We got information from their drivers that they will not be coming to work.”  

SATAWU’s Vincent Masoga said no agreement was reached over the weekend.

“There are some provinces that have different views and that means that those views cannot be added up until there is an agreed view.”

It remains unclear how long bus drivers plan to stay off the road.

(Edited by Tamsin Wort)