Nationwide bus strike coming - SATAWU

Union says CCMA mediation process failed to resolve dispute, employers remain obdurate


10 March, 2017

South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (SATAWU) along with the other unions in the South African Road Passenger Bargaining Council (SARPBAC) have been granted a certificate to go on strike.

The five unions embarked on a mediation process led by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) on Monday this week but by the end of Thursday the dispute was still unresolved. 

There is, however, a mandatory 30-day cooling off period unions have to observe before embarking on the strike. Parties can engage during this period if they choose but they are not obliged to.

The industry-wide wage talks kicked-off in late January but reached a deadlock in the second phase of negotiations last month. It was then that parties agreed to the CCMA mediation. Unfortunately, parties could not reach an agreement as employer associations refused to move despite labour’s willingness to compromise. 

In fact, it would appear employers are hell-bent on having a strike as they refused to make significant shifts and even revoked offers they had made during the second phase of negotiations. Labour, on the other hand, showed good faith by dropping 10 or so items from the original demands list.

And although employers were aware that labour only had a mandate to negotiate a one year agreement, they revoked the offer they had previously put on the table and replaced it with a three year 7% across-the-board (ATB) year-on-year offer.

Employers also arrogantly refused to entertain the demand for an industry minimum wage of R8 000 per month insisting instead that the current R5 575 be increased by the ATB. In addition, the bus company associations would not extend the definition of night work to include work done between 6pm and 6am, opting to keep the status quo at 8pm to 3am. With regard to the various allowances such as the cross-border allowance, employers were only willing to give an ATB increase.

SATAWU now has 30 days during which it will survey its members across the country to seek a mandate for the mother of all strikes.

Statement issued by Zanele Sabela, SATAWU Media Officer, 10 March 2017