Bus strike set to continue on Saftu national protest day

Commuters at the Dobsonville taxi rank say the queue is longer than usual. (File: Amanda Khoza/News24)
Commuters at the Dobsonville taxi rank say the queue is longer than usual. (File: Amanda Khoza/News24)

Talks to end the national bus strike continued late on Tuesday as Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant, bus drivers and companies were still trying to thrash out a pay rise that everyone will agree to.

"The minister is driving the process and she is very determined," SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) spokesperson Zanele Sabela said outside the negotiating room.

Workers want a 9.5% salary increase in the first year and 9% in the second year. They initially wanted 12%, while employers offered 7%.

Bus drivers represented by Satawu, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), Tirisano, the Transport and Allied Workers Union of South Africa (Tawusa) and the Transport and Omnibus Workers Union went on strike from April 18.

The broader Numsa fraternity will also be part of a nationwide protest on Wednesday over a proposed national minimum wage of R20 per hour that its mother body, the SA Federation of Trade Union, has rejected.

WATCH: Wage negotiations hit a deadlock - bus strike continues

Talks to end the bus strike reached a deadlock at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration and Oliphant was brought in to help.

SA Road Passenger Bargaining Council secretary general Gary Wilson told News24 there was no settlement yet, but he was relieved that all the parties were still talking.

"As long as talks happen, there is a prospect of something coming out," said Wilson.

Commuters who had their own cars had to drive themselves to their destinations or catch trains or taxis during the strike.

Metrorail in the Western Cape has tried to help in Cape Town area, but two power failures have affected its trains.

Technical repairs were under way on Tuesday to make sure trains run on Wednesday.

In the meantime, according to Wilson, the bus strike is still on.

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