Numsa secretary general Irvin Jim and other union leaders representing bus drivers at a press briefing on Friday. (Photo: Sibongile Khumalo, Fin24)
  • Bus drivers and employers agreed on a wage hike, but there is a deadlock over backdated pay.
  • As a result, the national bus strike continues.
  • Further talks are still due this weekend, but the outlook is poor

The three week long national bus strike was expected to come to an end on Friday, after employers and unions agreed to a 9% wage hike for this year, and 8% hike for next year.

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).

Commuters queue at Dunoon taxi rank in Cape Town during nationwide bus strike. Picture: Athi Mtongana

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 Johannesburg, the Metro bus and the City of Ekurhuleni's metro's buses continue to operate. The Areyeng busses in the City of Tshwane are also 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.

Commuters stand in long queues as bus drivers go on strike. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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.

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