Nationwide bus strike beckons before Easter weekend

Henry

Commuters nationwide may find themselves stranded over the Easter weekend if the Satawu trade union goes ahead with its threats to strike.

The transport union warns that a national strike in the passenger bus sector could take place before the Easter weekend if employers do not present a sensible offer for an increase and medical benefits.

Satawu is urging communities to make alternative plans for the long weekend as the strike is likely to disrupt services.

The trade union has been trying to negotiate with employers through the South African Road Passenger Bargaining Council (SARPBAC) since the beginning of the year, but this has reached a dead end this past week. The employers are represented by the South African Bus Employers’ Association (Sabea).

Satawu is demanding a 5.3% increase in the minimum wage for the first year and a 7% increase for the second year. However, employers are only willing to offer 4.5% in the first year and 6.5% in the second year.

The union is also dissatisfied with employers’ “ridiculous demands” that workers hired after April this year will not enjoy the same benefits and that drivers involved in accidents will be fined between R500 and R1 000 over the next two years have to pay

“Satawu tried to avoid a strike, but sometimes it is necessary to take to the streets because it is the only language the employer understands.

“The ball is in their hands to avert this disaster.”

Satawu is in the process of obtaining a certificate.

“Although we understand that many commuters will be inconvenienced by the strike, we still have a responsibility to protect our members and workers and stand up for their rights.”