Towu wants to return to work

Towu members are prepared to end the three-week long nationwide bus strike.

Striking Satawu members outside the CCMA's offices in Fox Street on 10 May 2013. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Transport and Omnibus Workers' Union (Towu) in the Western Cape on Friday said it would return to work for a 9.5 percent increase.

Bus workers nationwide downed tools three weeks ago in demand of a double digit increase.

After several deadlocked negotiations, the bargaining council on Thursday put a 9.5 percent wage increase on the table.

While the South African Transport Allied Workers Union (Satawu) insisted on a 10 percent increase, Towu said they were happy with 9.5 percent.

The union's Tony Franks said, "We'll have a mass meeting on Monday to engage the employees to go back to work. Currently, there's a lock out at Golden Arrow Bus Services and our members are pleading that they can't sustain their livelihood and they want us to engage the management so they can go back to work."

GAUTENG

Hundreds of Satawu on Friday handed over a memorandum of demands to officials at the Gauteng Transport Department as striking bus drivers continued their fight for higher wages.

The union indicated it would reject a wage hike offer of nine percent and would only settle for a double digit increase.

Satawu vowed to bring transport in South Africa to a standstill if their double digit wage demand was not met.

The union staged a second march in the city centre earlier and delivered a list of its grievances to both the Transport Department and the Road Freight Bargaining Council.

Hundreds of Satawu members could be heard throughout the city centre as they sang songs and marched for higher wages.

The union's Chris Nkosi said their members in other industries were prepared to down tools in solidarity if their demands were not met.

"Every worker relies on us to get to work. I'm talking about the taxi industry and passenger rail agencies."

Officials at the Transport Department committed to respond to the union's memorandum within seven days.