Looming bus strike over wage negotiations

After the latest round of talks the companies are offering 7% increase but the unions want a double digit hike with added benefits.

Satawu members strike in Parktown on 7 May 2013. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN

CAPE TOWN – About 10,000 bus drivers across the country could go on strike from next month if a wage dispute is not settled in the next two weeks.

Five trade unions, Including Transport and Omnibus Workers Union (Towu) and South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) were granted a strike certificate earlier this month after failing to reach an agreement with 16 bus companies at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

After the latest round of talks the companies are offering a 7% increase but the unions want a double digit hike with added benefits.

The unions and associations representing bus companies have about 18 days to finalise a deal before the cooling off period runs out.

Failure to reach an agreement by the second week of April will mean bus drivers can down tools.

However, parties are yet to hold talks since the strike certificate was issued two weeks ago.

Towu's Tony Franks says they are open to more negotiations.

“We indicated to the mediator and he has no problem meeting again with the employer. But obviously, he must facilitate the process and the other party can neither say they agree or disagree.”

Satawu is already speaking to its members to determine whether they want to go on strike.

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)