Bus operators and unions locked in tense wage negotiations

EWN reports that bus operators and unions in the passenger bus sector are locked in tense negotiations as wage talks hit a snag. Wage negotiations deadlocked almost three weeks ago, with labour unions demanding more than double what industry leaders are willing to pay. The South African Road Passenger Bargaining Council has now been roped in to mediate on the matter to avert crippling strike action by workers.

Labour unions declared a dispute after an unsuccessful first round of wage negotiations in February. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) made an initial demand of 15% before revising it down to 10%. The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) has stuck to its guns for a 15% increase across the board plus a range of other demands.

This includes four months paid maternity leave and full compulsory healthcare for all workers. Negotiations reached an impasse when the unions refused to accept an offer of 4%. Bus operators are currently caucusing over calls for a revised offer. They are expected to table a new offer at this afternoon’s plenary. A protracted dispute could spell trouble for long-distance commuters with workers from Greyhound, Intercape, Putco, and Bojanala threatening to down tools during the during the Easter period.

by Nokukhanya Mntambo

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