National bus strike continues 'indefinitely'

2017-04-12 22:11
MyCiti bus. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

MyCiti bus. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town – The national bus strike is expected to continue on Thursday after unions and employers were unable to reach an agreement over a pending salary increase.

Employers are offering a 7.5% increase while unions are demanding an increase of 12%.

Cape Town-based Golden Arrow Bus Services spokesperson Bronwen Dyke-Beyer told News24 that negotiations were deadlocked.

"At this stage, the strike is continuing indefinitely. The best thing is to prepare for an indefinite strike and really hope the parties come to an agreement," she said.

Dyke-Beyer said 220 000 Golden Arrow passengers were affected by the strike.

The services of MyCiti in Cape Town, Rea Vaya in Johannesburg, Gautrain buses and Putco have all been suspended because of the strike action.

Expanded train service

Department of Transport spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi said the department has engaged with taxi associations and train services to compensate for the suspension of bus services.

"Obviously, this is not enough, hence there is an emphasis to restore bus services to normal," he said.

Western Cape Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott said the company had seen a considerable increase in passengers on Wednesday following the start of the national bus strike.

"Especially in Mitchell's plain, but the passengers conducted themselves orderly. They were very patient and there were no incidences," she said.

Metrorail plans to continue with an expanded service on Thursday to compensate for suspended bus services.

City of Ekurhuleni spokesperson Gugu Ndima said the city had not received any reports of stranded passengers.

"While the Putco service has been disrupted, the city's own bus service is operating normally," she said.

Taxi industry 'under pressure'

Transport portfolio committee chairperson Dikeledi Magadzi on Wednesday morning said she was concerned about the strike, which was taking place just days before the Easter weekend.

"The national bus strike is set to inconvenience the country in proportions not witnessed before. A lot of people around this time are commuting by road to be with families. The stakes are high and all assistance, particularly from law enforcement agencies, is required so that the safety of road users is not compromised," Magadzi said.

"The taxi industry, long and short-distance, will be under a lot of pressure. Hence drivers should exercise caution and at all times stick to the rules of no overloading and no speeding."

Among other demands the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa wants a housing allowance of R3 000, maximum 12 hour shifts for drivers, overtime to be 1.5% of rate of pay, work on Sundays or public holidays or overtime to be by agreement only and the insourcing of cleaning, workshop and technical staff.  

Read more on:    golden arrow  |  metrorail  |  myciti  |  gautrain  |  rea vaya  |  strikes

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