Commuters stranded as bus drivers strike

Bus company employees strike outside the Algoa Bus depot in Pearl Road
Picture: Judy de Vega

Nelson Mandela Bay commuters are among thousands around the country who have been left stranded as bus drivers went on strike on Wednesday.

Wage negotiations at the South African Road Passenger Bargaining Council deadlocked, resulting labour unions embarking on national strike action.

This left stranded commuters scrambling for alternative transport around the Bay on Wednesday morning.

Vuyo Maci, 27, said he only became aware of the strike when the he saw his regular bus stop in Kwazakhele deserted.

“I am very angry. How do they choose to strike without informing the public properly. This is absurd. I only have a bus coupon and now I have to borrow taxi fare to town,” he said.

The strike – including short and long distance buses – comes just before the Easter long weekend.

Drivers affiliated to various unions – the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu), National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), Transport and Allied Workers Union (Tawu), Professional Transport and Allied Workers Union (Ptawu) and Transport and Allied Services Workers Union (Taswu) – are seeking a double-digit pay increase, among other things.

Employer parties involved in the negotiations – the SA Bus Employers’ Association (Sabea) and Commuter Bus Employers Organisation (Cobeo) – said the unions had issued a strike notice despite employers offering a wage increase of 7.5% as well as improvements to overtime provisions and travel and subsistence allowances, which had been rejected.

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