Government issues temporary licences to taxis to compensate for bus strike

2017-04-13 21:41
Passengers queue for rides to Hanover Park at Cape Town’s taxi rank on Wednesday. (Ground Up)

Passengers queue for rides to Hanover Park at Cape Town’s taxi rank on Wednesday. (Ground Up)

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Cape Town – The Department of Transport says it has issued temporary and special operating licences to taxi operators to compensate for the nationwide bus strike.

Bus drivers went on a nationwide strike on Tuesday after unions representing bus drivers and employers failed to reach an agreement on a salary increase.

Unions are calling for a 12% salary increase. Employers increased their offer to 9% on Wednesday after originally saying they were only able to afford a 7.5% increase.

In a statement, Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi said the issuing of temporary licences was to address peak demand.

"The prolonged strike continues to inconvenience commuters who would travel to various destinations including religious pilgrimages during this Easter weekend," he said.

Maswanganyi said the only reasonable outcome that government expected was to have bus operations resume immediately.

'They said take it or leave it'

SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu) spokesperson Zanele Sabela told News24 that the strike would continue over the weekend after parties reached a deadlock.

"We are very disappointed about what happened in the bargaining council yesterday [Wednesday]. They [employers] came with the same proposals that were previously made. They said take it or leave it, and it is that attitude that is taking us backward," Sabela said.

Sabela vowed that the union would not budge from its demands for a 12% increase and improved working conditions for drivers.

Sabela added that it was pure coincidence that the strike was happening over Easter. Negotiations had started in January.

In addition to the 12% increase, Satawu and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA wanted overtime pay increased by 1.5%.

They wanted a change to the double-driver shifts. Sabela explained that only the driver behind the wheel got paid for long-distance trips. The standby driver earned nothing.

News24 earlier reported that the services of Golden Arrow and MyCiti in Cape Town, Rea Vaya in Johannesburg, Gautrain buses and Putco, as well as other long-distance bus services have been suspended for the duration of the strike.

Cape Town-based Golden Arrow Bus Services spokesperson Bronwen Dyke-Beyer told News24 on Wednesday that 220 000 Golden Arrow passengers were affected by the strike.

Metrorail said it planned to continue with an expanded service to compensate for suspended bus services.

Read more on:    golden arrow  |  myciti  |  gautrain  |  rea vaya  |  transport  |  protests

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