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Unions say bus strike continues despite agreement on offer

This is despite an agreement on the offer on the table. The sticking point is workers' demand for backpay from 1 April.

FILE: Golden Arrow buses parked at the Cape Town bus terminal. Pictures: Bertram Malgas/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - Unions involved in the national bus strike have announced that the strike has not ended as one issue is still outstanding.

Numsa says while an agreeable offer is now on the table, backpay for workers from 1 April has not been agreed on.

This is the 17th day of the strike. The unions say there is an offer of 9% for the first year, 8% for the second year and all other issues such as the night shift allowance, dual driver and insourcing are still being dealt with by a task team.

Numsa General Secretary Irvin Jim says the main difficulty now is the paying of workers for the month of April.

“We’ve communicated to the employers that they can come to the party and come up to an agreement with us on the back pay for the workers.”

Jim says plans are in place to meet with employers this weekend.

“In our view, this attitude that has been endorsed by employers is provocative and honestly, completely not sensitive to the affected communities.”

Unions say it’s about employers coming to the table in good faith. Jim says it would be to the detriment of their own companies should employers decide to revert to previous offers.

He said: “Generally, we can say workers agree with the offer on the table. However, as things stand, workers in their majority are very resolute and firm that they want their back pay to be paid [from] 1 April.”

Jim says talks will continue.

“From this press conference, we will be communicating with them, looking at whether they are willing to move and we will also have thorough discussions with our members on this question.”

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)