Negotiations between unions and government continue today at the CCMA, as the ongoing national bus strike enters its 15th day. South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) originally demanded a 12% increase, which was later brought down to 9.5%.
Employers are offering bus drivers an 8%-8.5% increase, which they have rejected. Fares are also expected to rise if bus companies agree to the wage increase demands of workers. The strike has crippled the public transport system across the country, leaving thousands of commuters stranded.
An increase in fares may disadvantage commuters, said John Dammert of the employer’s caucus. Those who will bear the brunt of the current bus strike are commuters, who now have to make two or three trips to reach their destinations, instead of making use one bus. Dammert also noted that low-income commuters will ultimately have to subsidise the cost of forking out more money for taxis or trains.
Satawu spokesperson, Zanele Sabela, said bus companies receive annual subsidies from government. These subsidies are consistent with increases in inflation, and bus fares increase by an average of 7%. Both Sabela and Dammert added that commuters will not have to forfeit the monthly and weekly bus tickets they have purchased before the bus strike commenced.
Thus far, attempts by the Minister of Transport, Blade Nzimande, and Minister of Labour, Mildred Oliphant, to intervene have been unsuccessful. If employers do not agree to the 9.5% increase today, the original increase demand of 12% will be back on the table.
— silindelo masikane (@Slindelo_M) May 2, 2018
I’m in grade 12 and i haven’t been to school for a week because my parents can’t afford to spend R60 daily for transport…it is time to solve this #BusStrike mess!!!
— Can C MaXar II (@c_maxar) May 2, 2018
#BusStrike Financially it has hit us deep, emotionally is has also affected us cause your always assuming if or if not there’s queues…physically you have to be strong to push people around when the taxi comes ?….low key abuse pic.twitter.com/DdQ59F3CY9
— Khani Hlahla (@khani_hlahla) May 2, 2018