Bus strike talks set for Wednesday

By Drum Digital
23 April 2013

Employers and unions will meet at the CCMA on Wednesday to try and resolve the ongoing nationwide bus strike, the Commuter Bus Employers' Organisation said on Tuesday.

Spokesman Barry Gie said it was initially hoped the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA) talks would start on Tuesday.

However, the meeting had to be postponed as many delegates did not live in Johannesburg and needed more time to travel there.

He said the employers' offer of a 6.5 percent wage increase remained in place.

Gie said that, given the pressures the industry faced, the SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union's (Satawu) demands were "just not possible".

Satawu announced the nationwide bus strike last week.

Gie said increased labour costs, issues around labour productivity, and escalating fuel prices were some of the factors which made the union's demands unfeasible.

"Going back to the negotiation table tomorrow [Wednesday], hopefully there will be some concessions from labour," Gie said.

Satawu spokesman Vincent Masoga said the union would attend the meeting and that members' demands were open to negotiation, within reason.

"This year has been the most difficult year. The petrol price has increased so much and this has increased the cost of food. Our members cannot afford housing and schools.

"The inflation rate also makes it very difficult [for members to survive]."

An 18 percent wage increase, with additional allowances for housing, night-shift, and long distance journeys, would help bus drivers to meet the rising costs of living, Masoga said.

"Members don't have a problem to negotiate, but they cannot take anything less than a double-digit [increase]."

-by Sapa

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