NATIONAL NEWS - The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has intervened in negotiations between unions and employee bodies in a bus company strike which has led to thousands of commuters having to find alternate modes of transport.
There was chaos when thousands of commuters were stranded in the nationwide bus strike, which began on Wednesday, forcing many to stand in long queues at taxi ranks across the country.
Workers from over 60 bus companies affiliated with the five unions involved – South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union, Transport and Allied Workers’ Union of South Africa, Transport and Omnibus Workers’ Union, National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and Tirisano Transport Workers’ Union – embarked on the national strike after wage negotiations with employer bodies, Commuter Bus Employers’ Organisation and South African Bus Employers’ Association, reached a deadlock.
Workers are demanding a one-year agreement to a 12% increase, with a rise of the basic minimum wage from R6 070 to R8 000 a month.
But the employers are offering a three-year agreement going up to 7.5%.
President of Cape Chamber of Commerce Janine Myburgh said while the strike is having a crippling effect on the commuters, it is too early make predictions on what the economic impact of the strike will be.
“Many businesses have been affected, some in small ways, like increased absenteeism, but the costs will all add up,” Myburgh said.
She added that there was concern about “above-inflation wage increases”.
The offer by the employers and the worker’s demands are above the consumer price index rate.
“Conditions vary greatly from one region to another and national bargaining does not take this into account,” she said.