South Africans need to prepare themselves for intensified strike action in the coming week, as unions and government have not come to a an agreement on wage negotiations. As the nation-wide bus strike enters its third week, the five trade unions involved in the strike are gearing up for protests in various parts of the country.
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) are meeting on Friday to finalise details on the planned protests.
This comes after Thursday’s meeting with employers, who form part of the South African Bus Employer’s Association and the Commuter Bus Employer’s Organisation, hit yet another snag. Employers stuck to their initial offer of an 8% wage increase for the first year and 8.5% for the second year, rejecting the unions’ 9.5% wage increase demand.
The unions, however, reverted back to their original wage increase demand of 12% after their 9.5% increase demand was rejected. Spokesperson for the South African Road Passenger Bargaining Council, John Dammert, said the Council understands that both parties (employers and unions) have communicated their respective positions.
He said the Council is still interested in finding a resolution which all parties involved could afford. In a statement released on Friday, Numsa said all unions affiliated to the South African Federation of Trade Unions, had decided to intensify the strike “because employers in the bus sector have declared war on commuters”.
Can Ramaphosa kindly take a break from his walks with the community and help find a way to resolve the #BusStrike
It has gone on long enough now. Strike is affecting commuters financially, physically, emotionally etc. — Cassandra ? (@_Miss_Cass) May 4, 2018
Many commuters have expressed dismay or anger at the current national bus strike, as other forms of public transport have become congested due to the influx of commuters who seek alternative transport. Dammert acknowledged that millions of South African commuters will ultimately have to fork out more money once the strike concludes as ticket prices will increase.
Just after bus strike passengers will also go on strike against ridiculous bus fare #BusStrike
— IG @iloveginger4 (@iloveginger4) May 4, 2018
In Okayama, Japan, bus drivers working with the Ryobi Group have also taken to the streets to protest in an unusual fashion; the bus drivers continue driving their routes while refusing to take any fare money from passengers. The drivers are protesting as a new rival bus line, Megurin, has began operating on routes which overlap those of Ryobi and offer a cheaper fare.