Commuters face chaotic morning as bus drivers go on strike

Numsa had given the 18 affected bus companies until the end of business on Tuesday to meet their 15% pay hike demand.

FILE: Rea Vaya buses. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – An estimated 500,000 bus commuters will have to make alternative plans for transport as the nationwide bus strike kicks off on Wednesday.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) had given the 18 affected bus companies until the end of business on Tuesday to meet their 15% pay hike demand.

Talks between the union and bus companies deadlocked in February this year and mediation by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration failed to reach common ground.

Numsa’s Phakamile Hlubi says bus drivers belonging to the affected bus companies will be picketing at their bus depots across the country today.

“They will all be picketing at different locations at various bus depots which are scattered all over the country. So you can expect pickets to take place at different points.”

Hlubi says the apparent unwillingness by the bus owners to meet their demands only means the strike will continue until they change their minds.

She says details of a mass march will be made known soon.

“When we talk about mass march or mass protest where a memorandum will be handed over, those are details which we’ll communicate to the public in due course.”

Hlubi says affected commuters are advised to find alternative transport.

CAPE TOWN AT A STANDSTILL

Capetonians are bracing for a chaotic morning as thousands of bus drivers are downing tools as part of a national strike.

Golden Arrow and MyCiTi buses are grounded on Wednesday as a precaution to ensure the safety of staff and passengers.

Nearly 300,000 commuters will have to find alternative transport.

Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott says they will step in to assist with additional trains.

“At the moment only the current gap, the clip card holders will be accepted on Metrorail trains and that is of course until the expiry date, weekly or monthly.”

It’s unclear when the unions and the bus companies will re-open talks.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)