Premium Journalist
1 minute read
1 May 2018
4:14 pm

Saftu issues ultimatum to bus companies


Bus companies have been given five days to respond positively to workers' demands or a national shutdown will be called, Saftu says.

Bus drivers picket outside Putco Bus deport in Soweto, 18 April 2018, as a national bus strike affected Rea Vaya Services in Johannesburg, 18 April 2018. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

The SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) has today threatened a national shutdown should bus companies not heed striking workers’ demands by the end of the week.

Addressing Saftu’s main May Day rally in Bloemfontein, its president Mac Chavalala said the companies were holding workers and commuters hostage.

“Saftu will not fold its arms and watch while you continue to exploit our people. We are giving you five days to respond positively to our demands, because we believe the workers’ demands are reasonable,” said Chavalala.

“Should you not respond accordingly, Saftu will mobilise for a solidarity strike very soon and bring this country to a standstill… should by now know what Saftu is capable of doing. We expect you to settle as in yesterday…our people are tired of being held hostage by your delaying tactics and arrogance.”

The bus strike entered its third week on Monday, leaving thousands of commuters stranded across South Africa. 

Workers affiliated to the SA transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu); the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa); the Transport and Omnibus Workers Union (Towu); the Transport and Allied Workers Union of South Africa (Tawusa); and the Tirisano Transport and Services Workers Union downed tools demanding an initial 12 percent salary increase across the board, while employers offered seven percent. 

Other issues in negotiations included driver over-time and night shift allowances.

Negotiations deadlocked last week. Transport Minister Blade Nzimande and Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant’s efforts to intervene and resolve the impasse drew a blank.

The bus companies tabled a revised nine percent offer, adding that the unions’ 12 percent demand was not affordable.

African News Agency (ANA)

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