Bus strike ends as unions accept offer

The national strike which had bus drivers across the country on a stay away officially came to an end on Saturday.

Numsa’s (National Union of Metalworkers of SA) acting spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi said: “Numsa treasurer general Mphumzi Maqungo met with workers from Algoa and Ezethu bus companies in Port Elizabeth [on Monday].”

She said the workers discussed the settlement, a wage increase of 9 percent across the board, a 10 percent increase on all allowances including night shift, cross-border and subsistence and travel and a R400 a month allowance for a co-driver.

“After extensive consultation, which is true to our values as a worker-led union, our members in all provinces have accepted the agreement,” said Hlubi.

She said that the union had initially rejected the offer as insufficient but later accepted it after other unions had.

“We did not believe it went far enough in addressing critical issues faced by our members, namely, a double digit percentage wage increase, as well as ensuring that they are paid in full for all the hours they work. However, based on the response from members in this sector, Numsa can indeed claim this agreement as a small victory for our members in their fight for a living wage and a dignified life for themselves and their families,” she said.

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Hlubi said through this strike, the union was able to highlight the working conditions of bus drivers.

“We brought into the public spotlight the shocking working conditions, such as the brutally long hours, the lack of decent allowances and the lack of remuneration for the second driver, to mention just a few issues affecting our members,” she explained.

She said the union had met Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant to discuss the working conditions and wages of bus drivers.

She added that the union would continue to hold Oliphant accountable so that there is improvement in the lives of bus drivers.

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