The SA Road Passenger Bargaining Council (SARPBAC) on Monday gave official 48-hour notice of the nationwide bus strike, which will commence from 5.35am on Wednesday, and is expected to last for several days.
All Golden Arrow and MyCiTi bus services will be suspended for the duration of the strike and commuters have been urged to make alternative travel arrangements.
Golden Arrow spokesperson Bronwen Dyke-Beyer on Monday said there was still hope the strike may be averted as negotiations were ongoing, while the City of Cape Town’s Brett Herron urged private companies to allow employees to work flexi-hours or work from home.
The strike follows a deadlock in annual wage negotiations between the employees associations and the five transport unions - the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) , Transport and Allied Workers Union of SA (Tawusa), Transport and Omnibus Workers’ Union (Towu), National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and Tirisano Transport Workers Union (Taswu).
Negotiations all started in SARPBAC’s National Bargaining Forum in January.
The unions proposed a one-year, 12% across the board (ATB) wage increase agreement with a minimum basic wage of R8000, while employers offered a three-year agreement with 7% ATB for the first year, 7.25% for 2019 and 7.5% for 2020.
A deadlock followed and a month-long cooling off period was instituted, which expired on Monday.
SARPBAC said: “The unions on Monday morning issued a formal notice to the council and the employers that a national bus strike will commence on Wednesday, 18 April. This in effect means that from 5.35am on Wednesday there might be no buses operating.”
Dyke-Beyer said there is hope the strike can be averted.
“Negotiations are still taking place and Golden Arrow remains hopeful that an agreement can still be reached. If the strike action goes ahead, Golden Arrow will institute a Company-wide lock-out in order to ensure the safety of our passengers and staff for the duration of the strike,” she says.
She added that clipcards that are valid when the strike starts will be extended when service resumes.
Herron says motorists can expect nightmare conditions on the road on Wednesday.
“It will bring great relief if private businesses would allow their employees to work remotely from satellite offices for a number of days or hours; or to allow employees to begin and end working at different times; or to work from home during the peak and then to travel to work during the off-peak,” he urged.