JOHANNESBURG, May 12 (ANA) – Hopes to see an end to the crippling bus strike were dashed on Friday, as South African unions announced that the new offer will not be signed until employers agreed to back date the salary increase.
The five transport unions said they agreed to the new wage offer of nine percent effective from the date the agreement was signed and eight percent for the second year starting April 1, 2019, that was tabled on Thursday.
The difficulty was that the new increase would kick in on Friday, should they sign, instead of April 1, as agreed with employers, National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) secretary general, Irvin Jim, said.
“We will not be blackmailed by employers, we are not here to mobilise for continuation of the strike, we say employers must come to the party, end strike by paying workers the back pay…workers remain united as a rock across nine provinces,” he told reporters at briefing in Kempton Park.
The thousands of bus drivers downed tools four weeks ago demanding wage increases and better working conditions. The unions had initially demanded for a 12 percent increase. The demand was revised to 9.5 percent and negotiation talks deadlocked.
The strike has hit commuters hard as they had to dig deeper into their pockets to pay for other means of transport. Standing in long queues around taxi ranks has been the order of the day for bus commuters. Taxi fares are considerably higher than those for buses.