Nationwide bus strike averted - for now, at least

Ahead of the Easter weekend, there's some good news for travellers - the planned bus strike has been called off.

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JOHANNESBURG - Ahead of the Easter weekend, there's some good news for travellers - the planned bus strike has been called off.

South African Road Passenger Bargaining Council general secretary, Gary Wilson, said on Wednesday evening that talks between the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and employer associations in the bus passenger sector had been constructive, with both parties committed to averting a strike.

Numsa confirmed that the Easter travel plans for many bus commuters would not be foiled following a revised offer from the employer.

The two parties held meetings over two days, under the auspices of the bargaining council, where the employer offered a percentage increase of 4.5% across the board.

Wilson said that several matters were up for negotiation, but the critical issue of wages was being addressed.

“Workers want to see what they are going to get out, especially in today’s economic situation, and so we do find that some critical issues that might be important might get rolled over…but there is always opportunity for them to be addressed once things improve,” Wilson said.

Meanwhile, Numsa’s Phakamile Hlubi-Majola warned that while the Easter weekend may be safe, the possibility of future strike action remained.

"We will be spending the next couple of days engaging with our members all over the country to get a mandate on the proposed offer. We will meet again with employers on 22 April to give them feedback," Hlubi-Majola said.