17000 expected to join countrywide bus strike

Jeffrey Greenberg  UIG via Getty Images                       South Africa Cape Town MyCiTi bus stop passengers boarding

While bus-drivers countrywide embarked on a strike over wages on Wednesday morning, Tshwane buses operated normally.

"NZ Bus is a fair employer and although negotiations were protracted and tough, they have been conducted in good faith, allowing us to reach a good agreement for drivers", Wagstaff says.

The City of Joburg, via their Twitter page, has stated that Joburg Metrobus services will operate as normal.

The strike followed a deadlock in talks involving the Bargaining Council, Commuter Bus Employers Organisation and SA Bus Employers Association.

Thousands of bus commuters will have to find alternative means to reach their destinations on Wednesday morning due to a nationwide bus drivers' strike.

Negotiations on wage increases have dragged since January, with unions seeking a 12-percent across-the-board increase while employers only offering seven percent. Those taxis that normally pick these commuters up each morning were scrambling over to the Rea Vaya, Metro and Putco bus services customers. By 4pm, there were lengthy queues at all of the loading areas at public transport ranks.

Pretorian Yvonne Vukayibambe said her children had waited for a bus to school for more than an hour. "We are uncertain of how the rest of the day will turn out", he said.

The five stakeholder unions, including Satawu, Numsa, the Transport and Allied Workers Union of South Africa (Tawusa), the Transport and Omnibus Workers Union (Towu), and the Transport and Services Workers Union (Taswu) said that the strike could only be averted by the tabling of an offer that ensures that workers were able to withstand the economic challenges brought on by the increase in the personal tax rate and VAT. "People are using the train because it's cheaper", he said.

Commuters in that area said they had to spend double on their transport fees.

In response to the situation MMC offor roads and transport Cllr Sheila Senkubuge said: "We are unfortunately faced with this situation as a result of wage negotiations that have deadlocked". They can't pay you only when you drive the bus.

Majority said they had already purchased their monthly bus tickets and had no spare money for alternative transport.

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