Thousands of commuters have been left stranded on Wednesday as South Africa's bus drivers embark on a nation wide strike, edmanding 12% increase across the board.
Secretary-General at the South African Road Passengers Bargaining Council, Gary Wilson,says it is unfortunate that an agreement has not been reached between the union and the employers.
He says the bargaining council tried to get the South African Bus Employer’s Association (SABEA) and the Commuter Bus Employers Association (COBEA) to solve the matter as swiftly as possible but it has been a difficult one.
The economy as it is places both sides in a difficult position. On the one side the unions have a mandate from the members for a living wage and on the other side the employers are trying to sustain themselves and we are also trying to get the parties to reach a settlement.— Gary Wilson, Secretary-General at South African Road Passengers Bargaining Council
At this stage we have not managed to persuade both sides to accept settlement offers and we will continue to engage the parties.— Gary Wilson, Secretary-General at South African Road Passengers Bargaining Council
The South African Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu) general secretary, Zenzo Mahlangu, says on top of the 12% increase, drivers are demanding that long distance buses have two drivers.
Mahlangu says the employer is refusing to pay a driver who's enjoying the ride, saying that they will only pay when the driver is actually driving the bus.
The union is also demanding that the allowance given to the long distance bus drivers be increased to allow them to sleep in decent places.
The fact of the matter is that the person is at work, he is in the bus and not at home so he has to be compensated.— Zenzo Mahlangu, South African Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu)
EWN reporter, Lauren Isaacs says commuters are angered by the bus strikes as some of them had to leave home early to use alternative transport.
Prasa regional manager, Richard Walker, has confirmed that Golden Arrow ticket holders will be allowed on the trains and not MyCiti card holders as an agreement has not been reached between the two.
To hear more conversations on the bus strike, listen below:
To hear more form Lauren Isaacs, listen here: