As the national bus strike enters its 22nd day, unions have announced their decision to reject the offer of a proposed wage increase of 8.75% during the first year, and a 8.25% raise in the second year.

This wage offer was introduced by the South African Road Passenger Bargaining Council (SARPBAC) and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), and was rejected by unions on Tuesday.

Bus drivers, however, had already announced that they would reject the offer on Monday, deadlocking negotiations and causing the two bodies to intervene.

The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu), which is one of the unions representing the country’s some 17 000 bus drivers, is demanding a wage increase of 9% in the first year and 8% in the second year, backdated to 1 April. Employees have also rejected a proposal to defer other condition-of-service demands to a task team chaired by the CCMA. These include a demand for industry medical aid, payment for night shifts and regulation of working hours.

Zanele Sabela, a spokesperson for Satawu, said workers are adamant on improving their current wage offer as the minimum wage offered is not enough.

“They (bus drivers) have families and there are no benefits, no medical aid, no provident fund and, to top it off, the conditions they work in are bad,” she said.

Employees embarked on the strike three weeks ago, and initially demanded a 12% wage increase.

Picture: Pixabay

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She enjoys reading the works of Stephen King, and exploring the beauty of Cape Town and its surrounds.