Thousands of SA commuters across are left stranded as bus drivers affiliated to Numsa and Satawu embark on SA nationwide bus strike in demand for a 15% pay hike.
Commuters queue in their numbers t local taxi ranks as they struggle to patiently wait for any bus that would convey them to their various destination. Government say there are nearly 10 million bus commuters in South Africa.
The SA nationwide bus strike will not only affect long distance travelers and workers, but also the anti Zuma protesters who plan to use the buses to get to Pretoria’s Church Square today to attend the march against President Jacob Zuma.
There were no Golden Arrow or MyCiTi bus services operational as of the early hours of Wednesday due to the SA national bus strike. The Nyanga taxi rank, opposite the Nyanga bus terminus had people flocking in as they hope of getting transport to work.
On Tuesday, Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi noted that the strike had to go on as government had no contingency plan in place to deal with the situation neither has it any plan to attend to the bus drivers demands.
Drivers affiliated to various unions including the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu); National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa); Transport and Allied Workers Union (Tawu); Professional Transport and Allied Workers Union (Ptawu); and Transport and Allied Services Workers Union (Taswu) – are in one accord, seeking a double-digit pay increase, among other things.
Employer parties involved in the negotiations include the SA Bus Employers’ Association (Sabea) and Commuter Bus Employers Organisation (Cobeo).
They said the unions had issued a strike notice despite employers offering a wage increase of 7.5% as well as improvements to overtime provisions and travel and subsistence allowances, which had been rejected.
“Regrettably, the intended SA nationwide bus strike will affect all bus operators other than municipalities, which translates into SA commuters who rely solely on these buses for transport to work being unfairly inconvenienced,
“The employers remain committed to reaching a reasonable and affordable wage settlement.” the employer groups said.
Speaking about how badly the strike will affect commuters, especially in the forth coming Easter break which will have citizens travel across the country, Satawu provincial secretary Lungile Ntshuntshe asked employers to take that into consideration.
— Mr Idiosyncratic (@thelionmutters) April 12, 2017
Affected operators include Rea Vaya‚ Putco‚ Autopax, Golden Arrow‚ Gauteng Coaches‚ Greyhound and MyCiTi.
Numsa members are expected to picket outside bus depots across the country on Wednesday morning.
As SA commuters turn to alternative means of transport, Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott said they will step in to assist with additional trains to ease people’s stress.
“At the moment only the current gap, the clip card holders will be accepted on Metrorail trains and that is of course until the expiry date, weekly or monthly.”
It’s unclear when the unions and the bus companies will re-open talks.