Bus industry wage negotiations between South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) along with other two unions, National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and Transport and Allied Workers Union of South Africa (TAWUSA) and two employer organisations (Commuter Bus Employers Organisation and South African Bus Employers Association) collapsed thus exposing the ailing industry to a possible catastrophic industrial action.
The industry’s highest decision-making body commenced pre-bargaining preparation in November 2020, followed by three days session at the National Bargaining Forum in January 2021 and two days of mediation in March 2021. The trade unions have been conscious of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and its devastating effects on the economy. Likewise, they proposed a historical innovative and creative approach to settle the wage agreement for the financial year.
Intrinsically, labours proposal shifts from traditional collective bargaining by focusing on two key demands, inter alia; 6% on wages and the introduction of a Primary Health Care Scheme. The Health Care Scheme will provide modicum access to health benefits to the rank and file who on daily basis are exposed to diseases and accidents in a process of generating profits for bosses. The scheme also provides a cost-effective contribution structure to the employers and workers in comparison to a medical aid scheme.
After six days of robust engagements, the employer opted to offer labour a 2.5% wage increase as opposed to the latter’s 6% salary demand. The former equally rejected the proposed introduction of a Primary Healthcare Scheme. On 10 March 2021, the South African Road Passenger Bargaining Council issued a certificate to strike or lockout.
The employers offer is far less than a cost-of-living index with little resonance to the plight of workers whom many of them lost income for more than a year due to lay-offs and short working hours caused by Covid-19 lockdown regulations. It will take decades for workers to regain composure from this financial calamity. Trade unions vow not to accept starvation as a consequence of a meagre salary increase.
At this juncture, trade unions observe a thirty-day cooling-off period in terms of the Bargaining Council Constitution. Unless employers table above cost-of-living salary increase offer and commitment to Health Care Scheme then trade unions will be left with no option but to embark on unprecedented industrial action.
Issued by: South African Transport & Allied Workers Union
For more information, contact
SATAWU General Secretary: Jack Mazibuko: 082 660 4793
SATAWU Deputy General Secretary: Anele Kiet: 071 021 1903
SATAWU National Sector Coordinator Road Passenger: Solomon Mahlangu: 083 623 5626