Talks over bus strike collapse again, unions call on members to intensify strike

Unions say they were more than willing to settle for an 8% wage increment as opposed to the initial 12% they had hoped for but bus bosses refused to budge from their 7%.

FILE: Many commuters were left stranded as a national bus strike got underway on 18 April 2018. Picture: Graig-Lee Smith/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The bargaining council meeting on the bus strike has once again collapsed.

Affected unions have made a decision to intensify the strike, accusing employers of negotiating in bad faith.

Unions say they were more than willing to settle for an 8% wage increment as opposed to the initial 12% they had hoped for but bus bosses refused to budge from their 7%.

The strike has caused major disruptions and frustration across the country, leaving hundreds of thousands of commuters stranded and scrambling for transport.

Satawu's Soloman Mahlangu said: “Unions collectively call on all members in the bus passenger sector to intensify the strike until such time that employers make an offer that can settle the strike.”

Unions are now calling on Transport Minister Blade Nzimande to intervene in negotiations, saying until then, the strike will be intensified.

He says workers are not prepared to continue being exploited.

“Unfortunately, employers maintained a rigid stance and rejected all our movements and attempts to find a settlement.”

In a joint statement by Satawu, Numsa, Tirisano, Tawusa and Towu, they say employers adopted a very provocative attitude which constitutes an insult to workers.

The unions have called on commuters to understand why they are striking, asking for patience.

The statement says: “We are calling on all the progressive communities that we understand their plight but request them to be patient and to fully support this strike and the struggle for workers for a living wage.

“The interest of workers to ensure that a settlement is found in particular the Department of Transport and the Department of Labour,” the statement adds.