Driv­ers strike on af­ter deal fal­ters

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - SOYISO MALITI

BUSES are un­likely to be back on the roads any time soon af­ter em­ploy­ers re­jected the driv­ers’ de­mand for their salary in­crease to be back­dated.

Fol­low­ing a marathon meet­ing yes­ter­day, the five unions rep­re­sent­ing bus driv­ers an­nounced that their mem­bers had ac­cepted the em­ploy­ers’ of­fer of 9% in the first year and then 8% for the sec­ond but wanted it back­dated to last month.

Na­tional Union of Me­tal­work­ers of SA (Numsa) gen­eral sec­re­tary Irvin Jim said it wanted the strike to end this week­end but that em­ploy­ers had to come to the party.

Jim ac­cused em­ploy­ers of be­ing provoca­tive and in­sen­si­tive to the af­fected com­muters.

“Em­ploy­ers must stop be­ing greedy. Work­ers did not go on strike dur­ing the Easter week­end like last year,” Jim said, sug­gest­ing that bus driv­ers were be­ing rea­son­able as Easter is usu­ally among the busiest and most lu­cra­tive pe­ri­ods for bus com­pa­nies.

He said a few con­ser­va­tive em­ploy­ers were be­ing provoca­tive and that work­ers were be­ing robbed in broad daylight.

Bus com­pa­nies are re­fus­ing to pay their driv­ers night shift al­lowances and for the sub­sti­tute driv­ers on long trips.

Mean­while, ne­go­ti­a­tions for wage in­creases for the coun­try’s 1.3 mil­lion public ser­vants were post­poned to Tues­day af­ter unions told the Public Ser­vice Co-or­di­nat­ing Bar­gain­ing Coun­cil that they still needed time to get man­dates.

The gov­ern­ment’s re­ced­ing of­fer is be­tween CPI +0.5% to 1.5% de­pend­ing on salary level.

In­creases will de­crease in sub­se­quent years and many unions are un­happy with this.

Mourn­ers ar­rive for the fu­neral at the mosque in Veru­lam yes­ter­day.

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