Labour unions, South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (SATAWU), National Union of Metalworkers of SA (NUMSA), Transport and Allied Workers Union of SA (TAWUSA), Transport and Omnibus Workers’ Union (TOWU) and Tirisano Transport Workers Union (TASWU) are calling on transport minister, Blade Nzimande, to intervene in the ongoing impasses in the bus sector wage negotiations, after involvement by his labour counterpart did not to produce the desired result.
Minister of Labour, Mildred Oliphant, convened a meeting between unions and employers on Tuesday in an effort to break the deadlock in the more than three-month-old wage talks. Though talks lasted late into the night, no settlement was reached.
Labour lowered its demands once again from 9.5% across the board (ATB) wage increase for the first year and 8.5% for the second year to 9% ATB for Year 1 and 8.5 for Year 2. But employer associations failed to rise to the occasion and offered 8% for the second year and 9% for the first year to be paid from 1 May 2018 instead of 1 April 2018 – which effectively means workers would be paid the increased wage for eleven months only.
In addition, employers refused to accede to labour’s demands with regard to dual driver payments, night shift hours and the insourcing of workers such as cleaners into the SA Road Passenger Bargaining Council (SARPBAC).
Workers affiliated to SATAWU, NUMSA, TAWUSA, TOWU and TASWU embarked on a strike last Wednesday following the deadlock in wage negotiations. They had initially demanded 12% ATB but employers offered 7% for the first year, 7.25% for the second year and 7.5% for the final year. Unions initially refused to sign a multi-year agreement arguing employers were not doing enough to entice them.
Negotiations resumed on the second day of the strike but broke down again when parties could not agree on the ATB and the accompanying outstanding issues.
Unions are now in the process of facilitating intervention by Nzimande because as Minister of Transport, he is in charge of paying subsidies to bus companies and therefore has leverage over them.
Meantime, the strike continues.
For media queries or to arrange an interview contact:
Zanele Sabela, SATAWU Media Officer, 079 287 5788 / 011 403 2077, firstname.lastname@example.org