The bus strike may continue into the long weekend. While a 9% salary increase has been agreed, other demands remain unresolved between unions representing bus drivers and employers.
Even though there have been shifts between the unions representing bus drivers and employer organisations on the issue of salary increases, the other demands remain unresolved. The stakeholders have agreed on a 9% salary increase for the first year but there is still disagreement on the date of implementation. “The employer wants to implement the increase as from 1 May while unions are demanding that it should start from the beginning of April which is the start of tax year,” said South African Transport and Allied Workers Union’s (SATAWU) spokesperson Zanele Sabela.
According to Sabela all the other demands remain unresolved. The unions are demanding that both drivers on a shift should be renumerated while the employers only want to pay for the driver whose foot is on the pedal. According to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, night shift is from 18h00 until 06h00 the next day. But in the industry it starts at 20h00 and ends at 03h00, therefore saving employers from paying for overtime. Solomon Mahlangu from SATAWU says that bus drivers work the longest hours in the country.
Speaking to Elitsha at the South African Trade Union Federation march on Wednesday, Vuyo Lufele from NUMSA, which also organises in the sector said that the employer organisation indicated that they are prepared to meet the salary demands of the workers and even go beyond them if all the other demands are thrown out.