Drivers strike on after deal falters
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.