The deadlocked bus transport pay and conditions negotiations went into mediation this past week. And at stake is much more than money and working conditions, especially of drivers. At stake is the safety of commuters and of all road users.
Among the proposals tabled by the bus company owners is one that drivers work “split shifts” covering 16 hours. This has correctly been labelled by the small Transport and Omnibus Workers’ Union as irresponsible and dangerous.
Two of the bigger unions involved, the Cosatu-affiliated SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union and the newest entrant to this sector, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA, have demanded extra payment for such shifts. But there is general agreement that money cannot compensate for damage to the health of workers and danger to life and limb of bus passengers and other road users.