Bus driver wage talks deadlock

It's unclear whether a deal between unions and bus drivers will be reached soon.

Striking bus drivers gather in Athlone on 25 April 2013. Picture: Lauren Isaacs/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Golden Arrow bus service says it cannot not say whether a settlement will be reached to end the ongoing bus driver's strike in the Western Cape.

The industrial action has been dragging on for over a week now, leaving thousands of commuters stranded.

The South African Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu) is demanding an 18 percent pay hike for drivers nationally but employers have offered between 7.5 and 8 percent.

Employers initially offered 6.5 percent before increasing their deal.

On Monday, Satawu was reportedly considering a bargaining council proposal to end the strike.

Golden Arrow's Bronwyn Dyke said the company is not in a "position to unlock the current situation as the South African Road Passenger Bargaining Council comprises two employee associations and two unions representing the entire South African bus industry".

"Any wage increase must be nine percent to accommodate the current economic climate. We simply cannot accommodate the [union's] demand at the moment. We remain hopeful that the unions involved with return to the bargaining table in a spirit which safeguards their employment and the long term future of the South African bus industry," she said.

Satawu's Vincent Masoga said the union is standing firm.

"We are proceeding with the strike again this week. We will be meeting with employers again. We are certain we will be able to come up with a solution."

Meanwhile, Metrorail's Mthuthuzeli Swartz said reports of an impending train strike were false.

"There is not going to be any strike from Metrorail in the Western Cape. I have spoken with the national spokesperson from the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa and he has also assured me that from their side they are not aware of any strike action."