IFP urges bus strike resolution

By Drum Digital
23 April 2013

Employers and labour need to work together to resolve the nationwide bus strike that has affected thousands of commuters, the IFP said on Tuesday.

The strike could endanger commuters, Inkatha Freedom Party spokesman Petros Sithole said in a statement.

"Merely directing commuters to trains is not a safe alternative, as it causes greater over-crowding on a transport system that is already overtaxed.

"This unnecessarily places people's lives at risk," he said.

The IFP did not oppose the workers' right to strike, but encouraged the employers' organisation and unions to find common ground towards ending the strike.

Earlier, Commuter Bus Employers' Organisation spokesman Barry Gie said employers and unions would meet at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration on Wednesday in an attempt to break the deadlock.

SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu) members are demanding an 18 percent wage increase, as well as allowances for housing, night-shift, and long-distance journeys, spokesman Vincent Masoga said.

Gie said the industry was faced with a number of pressures, including reduced productivity and escalating fuel costs.

These factors would make it difficult for them to increase their present offer of 6.5 percent.

Masoga said workers needed a substantial increase to offset rising food and housing costs.

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

-by Sapa

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