Bus strike continues over back-dated pay dispute

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Zodidi Mhlana

JOHANNESBURG- Five trade unions representing 17 000 striking bus drivers would be meeting on Monday afternoon after failing to agree with the employer on when the new wage agreement will come into effect.

The bus strike which has had an impact on the country’s economy and forced commuters to use alternative transportation has entered its fourth week.

While striking workers have accepted a 9% wage increase for the first year and 8% for the second year, but the issue of back-dated pay remains unresolved.

Workers want the increment to be back-dated to April 1 and the employers are refusing.

South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) spokesperson, Zanele Sabela said: “We will be considering our options on the issue of back-date increment. Our members are demanding it because it is a norm so they don’t understand why it’s not happening now.”

Several wage negotiations have collapsed over the past four weeks as parties could not reach an agreement.

About 17 000 bus drivers affiliated to South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu), National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and other three unions downed tools in April after talks with employer organizations, Commuter Bus Employers Organisation and South African Bus Employers Association (Sabea) collapsed.

Unions have also expressed their unhappiness over the issue of dual-bus drivers and this has been referred to a task team which is headed by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA).

Bus companies including Putco, Golden Arrows, Reavaya, Greyhound, APM have all been affected.

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