It’s all systems go for bus commuters – the wage strike is over and all drivers have reported for duty across the country.
“The strike is over and the negotiations are over as well so the drivers have resumed their duties this morning,” labour department spokesperson, Sithembele Tshwete, confirmed today.
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) ended its last round of consultations with workers in the bus passenger sector today.
The union’s treasurer-general, Mphumzi Maqungo, met with the workers from Algoa and Ezethu Bus Companies in Port Elizabeth.
The union reported today that all members had reported for duty at the depots across the country.
Union members agreed on a 9% across-the-board wage increase, 10% increase on all allowances – night shifts, cross border allowance and S&T (subsistence and travel) and R400 per month allowance for the co-driver.
After extensive consultation, members across the country accepted the agreement.
But Numsa believed it did not go far enough in addressing the critical issues faced by its members on a double digit percentage wage increase, as well as ensuring that they were paid in full for all the hours they worked.
“We are disappointed that the strike did not last as we have hoped. However, we are glad that the workers have reported to duty this morning, because no work, no pay,” said Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi.
Numsa said that the agreement was a small victory for the members in their fight for a living wage and dignified life for themselves and their families, and a few significant milestones were achieved – the strike brought into the public spotlight the shocking working conditions, such as long working hours, the lack of decent allowances and the lack of remuneration for the second driver. Also, they forced an intervention from the government.
Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant heard firsthand of the bad working conditions and “slave wages” that persist through the sector.
Numsa said it would hold her accountable to ensure that all matters raised were attended to speedily, so that there could be a meaningful improvement.