Union warns of bus strike

Zululand Observer - Monday - - ZO NEWS - Or­rin Singh

THE South African Trans­port and Al­lied Work­ers’ Union (SATAWU) has is­sued a warn­ing about a pos­si­ble na­tional bus strike this week.

Trade unions SATAWU, Trans­port and Al­lied Work­ers Union of SA (TAWUSA), Trans­port and Om­nibus Work­ers’ Union (TOWU), Na­tional Union of Met­al­work­ers of SA (NUMSA) and Tirisano Trans­port Work­ers Union (TASWU) are likely to down tools in the mid­dle of this week af­ter a stale­mate in wage talks.

The five unions have been locked in wage ne­go­ti­a­tions with em­ployer as­so­ci­a­tions Com­muter Bus Em­ploy­ers Or­gan­i­sa­tion (COBEO) and SA Bus Em­ploy­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (SABEA) since Jan­uary this year.

The agreed set­tle­ment was meant to have been im­ple­mented on 1 April.

How­ever, ow­ing to a manda­tory 30-day cool­ing off pe­riod, unions could not em­bark on a strike im­me­di­ately.

The cool­ing off pe­riod ended on Sun­day, af­ter which unions will give em­ploy­ers 48 hours’ no­tice be­fore start­ing the strike on Wed­nes­day.

Par­ties are al­lowed to en­gage dur­ing the cool­ing off pe­riod and unions said they were open to talks to avert the strike. The em­ploy­ers have yet to re­spond.

On be­half of work­ers, unions are seek­ing a oneyear 12% across the board wage in­crease agree­ment with a min­i­mum ba­sic wage of R8 000.

Em­ploy­ers, on the other hand, are of­fer­ing a three­year agree­ment with a 7% in­crease for year one 7.25% for year 2 and 7.5% for year 3. They also want to keep the cur­rent ba­sic min­i­mum wage of R6 070.

In ad­di­tion, em­ploy­ers want any worker en­ter­ing the in­dus­try for the first time af­ter 1 April to be paid R6 070 (SARPBAC min­i­mum ba­sic wage) re­gard­less of whether the hir­ing com­pany has a higher min­i­mum wage.

Unions are also de­mand­ing full pay for dual driv­ers, as em­ploy­ers are cur­rently en­joy­ing free labour where the sec­ond driver is not at the wheel at the be­gin­ning of a jour­ney and is only en­ti­tled to a R400 al­lowance per month.

Em­ploy­ers ar­gue that the dual driver is not on duty un­til he takes the wheel.

An­other de­mand in­volves night shift.

Unions want any work done be­tween 6pm and 6am to be deemed night shift as stip­u­lated in the Ba­sic Con­di­tions of Em­ploy­ment.

Cur­rently the in­dus­try deems night shift to be be­tween 8pm and 3am and em­ploy­ers want to main­tain the sta­tus quo.

Labour also wants work­ers to be com­pen­sated for sleep­ing out and has de­manded em­ploy­ers ar­range and pay for de­cent ac­com­mo­da­tion so driv­ers can rest ad­e­quately when they are away from home.

Labour has fur­ther de­manded that the R595, R632 and R673 per day that em­ploy­ers have of­fered to pay as sub­sis­tence and travel al­lowance for the re­spec­tive years of the three-year agree­ment, be paid to work­ers as com­pen­sa­tion for be­ing away from home.

Unions say they are open to talks to avert strike

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