#BusStrike: Ultimatums plague negotiations

The bus strike will continue, South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) spokesperson Zanele Sabela has confirmed.

Unions met with employers on Thursday in a renewed effort to end the impasse in negotiations. The nationwide strike is now in its third week.

Employers held firm to their original offer of 8% wage increases in the first year and 8.5% increase in the second year, Sabela told the Mail & Guardian.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the employer parties of the South African Road Passenger Bargaining Council said negotiations collapsed and alleged unions threatened to revert to their previous demand of a 12% increase.

This after Satawu accused the employers of leaving unions with an ultimatum last week — a threat that John Dammert from the employer’s caucus denied.


“Giving ultimatums is not in our domain as an association and it totally runs against the grain of negotiating in good will,” Dammert said.

But Sabela countered Dammert’s claim, telling EWN: “So, throughout the week they had been denying that they gave us the ultimatum that if we didn’t accept that offer by yesterday, then they will revert back to the media over the proposal. But that’s effectively what they have done today.”

Sabela also vehemently denied the bus bosses’ suggestion that the unions attempted to browbeat them through an ultimatum.

In their statement, the employers associations emphasised the potential damage the prolonged strike action — and a capitulation to union demands — would have on the bus sector and commuters.

“These demands are completely out-of-sync with the current economic climate and will have to be passed on to commuters through increased ticket costs,” the statement reads.

The statement also alleged that the industry average wage for a bus driver currently is R16 000. “In stark contrast to this an independently verified survey has shown that more than 65% of commuters earned less than R4000 in 2016.”

But Sabela denied the accuracy of this figure. Unions have since vowed to intensify strike action.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.
Advertising

Only three grades to return to school on Monday

Only grades six, 11 and R will return to school as expected, with the rest to be phased in later in the month

Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku’s first rule: Don’t panic

As Gauteng braces for its Covid-19 peak, the province’s MEC for health, Bandile Masuku, is putting his training to the test as he leads efforts to tackle the impending public health crisis
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday