SACP backs bus drivers strike

Party says bus companies have been violating the law for a long time without any consequences

SACP supports the ongoing bus drivers nationwide strike, calls for solidarity

The South African Communist Party (SACP) fully supports the bus drivers strike as led in the main by the South African Transport Workers Union (Satawu) with the involvement of other trade unions in the sector’s collective bargaining council. The SACP further congratulates Satawu for the leading role that the union is playing in the collective bargaining process and the strike.

The employers have offered a meagre 7 per cent wage increase and rejected other substantive demands of the workers. Workers are presently demanding a 12 per cent salary increase for all drivers across the board; a basic wage of R8 000 as opposed to the current R6 000; a full pay for dual drivers travelling long distances; and a nightshift roster from 4pm to 6am, as opposed to the current one, 8pm to 3am.

It is clear that bus companies have been violating the law for a long time without any consequences. Some of these demands raised by the workers stem from a flagrant violation of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act by the employers. Employers have been reaping the benefits of free labour for an overdue period.

In more concrete terms, employers have been raking in very high profits at the expense of workers. In line with the capitalist mode of production, they have at one and the same time sought to, and have in most cases have succeeded, to push down costs of operation to as low as possible by resisting salary increment for workers. It is in this context, for instance, that these companies have been implementing a dual driver system, through which employers are enjoying free labour, in that the second driver who is not at the wheel when the trip commences is deemed to not be on duty and only paid a R400 allowance per month. Workers demand full pay for both drivers. Workers having been providing free labour whilst employers cash in absolute surplus value – the profit made from the workers who are required to be at work but are not paid for being on duty!

The SACP will continue to support SATAWU (South African Transport and Allied Workers' Union) and all affected workers in this strike. We will work closely with Cosatu in the just struggle for a living wage, better working conditions and decent work in general.

The SACP is also calling on the bus companies to refund passengers the money for the tickets the companies have sold. The workers want to use the money for alternative transport during the course of the strike.

Statement issued by SACP, 20 April 2018