Transport Minister Maswanganyi ‘to prioritise’ national bus strike

Bus drivers say they work 14-hour days and sometimes longer, but claim their employers refuse to pay them overtime.

Bus drivers picketing at the bus depot in Salvokop, Pretoria. Mia Lindeque/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Transport Department says Minister Joe Maswanganyi has placed the national bus strike high on his agenda as thousands of commuters were left stranded with longer taxi queues and pickets outside several bus depots.

Workers are demanding a 15% salary increase while the employer is offering 7.5%.

Bus drivers have had a meeting and outlined their grievances.

Bus drivers say they work 14-hour days and sometimes longer, but claim their employers refuse to pay them overtime.

One driver said the working conditions are terrible.

“Our working conditions are poor and some of us work like slaves.”

Drivers are holding up placards, singing struggle songs and waiting to be informed of the plan for the rest of the day.

Meanwhile, taxi drivers in the Johannesburg CBD have had their hands full on Wednesday due to the industrial action by bus drivers.

Taxi drivers at the Noord taxi rank say they were overwhelmed earlier on Wednesday by the high number of people they had to ferry to various destinations as a result of the bus strike.

“The situation was bad, but we manage to transport people to their destinations.”

Earlier, the taxi rank was congested but queues have started moving faster now.

There are no signs of buses in the CBD.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)