Bus strike finally ends, compromise wage deal brokered

Johannesburg – Bus drivers have officially ended their protracted strike after reaching a compromise wage settlement on Monday.

Drivers agreed to a 9% wage hike for the first year and 8% for the second year. The offer is backdated to April 17, the date of the beginning of the strike. 

Workers initially demanded that the wages be backdated to April 1.

While the bargaining council has sent out a letter stating that all parties have agreed to end the bus strike and that services will begin again on Tuesday, one bus company is apparently still refusing to agree until the signed agreement has been delivered.  

Ironically, the company concerned is Golden Arrow, which is owned by Hosken Consolidated Industries, where the DA Clothing and Textile Union's investment company has a major holding.

The strike, by more than 17 000 drivers, ground transport services to a halt in many cities across the country, leaving commuters stranded.

It was supported by the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union, the Transport and Allied Workers Union of South Africa, the Transport and Omnibus Workers Union, the National Union of Mineworkers of South Africa and the Tirisano Transport and Services Workers Union.

Bus services which have been affected by the strike included Rea Vaya, the Gautrain, Putco and Megabus in Gauteng. In Cape Town, the MyCiti and Golden Arrow bus services have been affected.

Last week, the Bargaining Council and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) proposed an offer of 8.75% pay increases for the first year and 8.25% for the second.

The unions initially demanded a 12% salary hike across the board, among other demands.

Last week, Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim told journalists that the majority of the workers were adamant that their salaries must be backdated, delaying the end of the strike.

Workers were also demanding compensation and conditions for dual drivers on long-distance buses and the in-sourcing of technical and other labour.

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