But talks stalled for lack of an agreement on backdated pay to 1 April. Employers want the hike to take effect on the date of signing; unions won't accept that.
"We will not be blackmailed by employers," says Irvin Jim, general secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa).
More than 17,000 bus drivers first went on strike on 18 April, affecting both long distance buses and daily commuter operation, though some services are still running.
In other places thousands of commuters have been relying on taxis, which are struggling under the load. This has resulted in lengthy queues at taxi ranks, in many cases adding hours commutes.
The striking workers initially demanded a 12% increase across the board. Employers initially offered 7% for the first year, 7.25% for the second year and 7.5% for the third.
Workers also demanded a R8,000 minimum basic wage and to be compensated for sleeping out as well as be given decent accommodation when on the road.