‘We’re intensifying the bus strike to end the strike’: Unions

20 April 2018 - 18:50 By Nico Gous
“A strike is not a dinner party. Once workers embark on a strike‚ we do so as a last resort,” said Irvin Jim.
“A strike is not a dinner party. Once workers embark on a strike‚ we do so as a last resort,” said Irvin Jim.
Image: Picture: ALON SKUY

Unions on Friday accused bus companies of not caring about their workers or commuters after negotiations to end the national bus strike broke down.

“We firmly believe that they can improve the current offer on the table but they are blackmailing workers [and] they are blackmailing the public‚” National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) general secretary Irvin Jim said.

Numsa‚ the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union‚ the Transport and Omnibus Workers Union‚ the Transport and Allied Workers Union of South Africa and the Tirisano Transport and Services Workers’ Union said they would intensify the strike.

“We are intensifying the strike to end the strike‚” Jim said.

Negotiations between unions and bus companies on Thursday and Friday were mediated by the Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

Bus companies initially offered a 7% wage increase.

The CCMA mediator proposed an 8% increase in the first year and 8.5% in the second year of a two-year agreement.

Bus companies said they would accept the facilitator’s offer on condition that unions drop other demands such as payment for nightshift and matters linked to the insourcing of cleaning‚ workshop and technical staff...

Unions offered a 9.5% increase in the first year and 9% in the second year after their initial demand for a 12% increase.

Jim called on bus drivers to “tighten their belts” and “doubting Thomases” to join the strike.

“A strike is not a dinner party. Once workers embark on a strike‚ we do so as a last resort.” 

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