Bus services across SA ‘to return to normal‘

Bus services across the country could return to normal on Saturday after some trade unions reached a wage agreement with bus companies.

FILE: Golden Arrow bus. Picture: Facebook.

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - Bus services across the country could return to normal on Saturday after some trade unions reached a wage agreement with bus companies.

Three unions - including South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) - on Friday settled on a 9% increase over a one-year period and a 1.5% hike for overtime.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) as well as the Transport And Services Workers Union appear to have rejected the offer as they are yet to commit to the deal.

Golden Arrow has already announced its services in Cape Town will resume on Saturday, but with a skeleton staff as some drivers are still coming back from the strike.

MyCiti buses will also be back on the road.

It appears the urgency around Easter weekend travel had a big influence in the deal.

Satawu General Secretary Zenzo Mahlangu says, “Moving forward, we’ll manage these situations in a better way and make sure that we do not inconvenience anyone in tampering with their plans to go to worship. Religion is a very sacrosanct issue.“

The details of the agreement still need to be drafted and it's expected that the settlement will officially be signed next week.

NUMSA’S DEMANDS

Meanwhile, Numsa says it will continue its bus strike until drivers are paid overtime salaries for working on public holidays and Sundays.

Numsa, whose members make up the second largest part of bus drivers at over 7,000, says it will not be intimidated into signing an agreement to end the national bus strike because an agreement has been signed by three other unions.

The union says it demands at least a double digit increase and overtime pay on public holidays and Sundays, amongst other things.

Secretary General Irvin Jim says Numsa members should feel safe to attend a nationwide meeting for them on Sunday to discuss a way forward in the strike.

“No propaganda or intimidation... our members must attend their meeting. They’re in a legal and protected strike.”

Numsa says it will meet its members nationwide on Saturday to discuss a way forward.

The union says it was excluded from talks between the council and the unions.

Jim says, “It is only our members, after they’ve reflected on the deal that the three unions have signed, who will say the strike must end or continue. We don’t have those powers.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)