The national bus strike, which commenced on Wednesday, 18 April, has stretched into a 24-day-long battle between the bus industry employers and employers – and is expected to continue.
South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu), National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), Transport and Omnibus Workers Union (Towu) and Transport and Allied Workers Union of South Africa (Tawusa) announced at a media briefing today that they will continue to strike until more communication with employers.
The General Secretary of Numsa, Irvin Jim, said they have received an offer of 9% from employers but the issue is the backpay and night shift allowances. He emphasised that this is “cheeky and silly” to deny workers this right.
The night shift is a big issue, said Jim. “Unions have done everything to persuade employers to pay workers a night shift allowance to work evenings, but they are rejecting this.”
Employers say this is very expensive and could cost up to R22-million – but according to Jim, this means employees are not being paid R22-million of their money, which is unacceptable.
Majority of the workers are fighting for back pay from April 1, and no conclusion has been forthcoming from employers regarding this issue.
On Thursday, the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu), had confirmed that a new offer had been made and that workers were consulted.
Employers offered 9% for the first year, followed by an 8% increase in the second year. The 9% increase for year one will only come into effect on the day the agreement is accepted and signed. For now, unions will go back to the negotiating table for better pay and benefits for their members.