The bus strike which marred many South Africans’ Easter weekend plans came to an end at noon on Friday.
This is after parties participating in wage negotiations accepted a 9% increase across the board by employers along with an increase in overtime pay to 1.5 times normal pay.
This came after some depots and shop stewards had already started making deals with their employers on Friday morning‚ such as a deal made between workers of Prasa subsidiaries Translux and Citi-Citi during which an 8.5% increase was accepted.
The South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union said their members have already started driving‚ eager to cash in on one of the country’s busiest weekends on the road.
“We have accepted the agreement‚ it therefore means that as of now the strike is off‚ we hope people going to Moria and elsewhere will enjoy their trip‚” said Satawu general secretary Zenzo Mahlangu.
He said their mandate came from drivers who asked them to accept the deal.
“The more we prolong and the more workers lose‚ they actually need to recoup what they’ve lost. We realised that some of our constituencies wanted to make arrangements in their own depots‚ that means the workers themselves wanted to sign the agreement‚” said Mahlangu.
Meshack Ramela‚ vice chairperson of the Commuter Bus Employer’s Organisation (COBEO) – one of the parties representing employers – said the strike was very costly for the employers but he said they were satisfied with the agreement.
General Secretary South African Road Passenger Bargaining Council Garry Wilson said all of the parties were aware of the effects the strike was having on the South African economy and people.
“In terms of our constitution‚ if the majority of the parties in the bargaining council come to an agreement that agreement applies to everybody in the council‚” he said.
He said there were also increases for driver’s “night out” allowances and “sleep out allowances” and he said some of the parties would continue working on aspects which caused unhappiness in the past.
“The situation is an unfortunate situation which came at the wrong time. A lot of people have been affected who could not go to their families‚” said Wilson.
“We understand there are lots of people still sitting on the road hoping that a bus will come‚ sitting at terminal points with their baggage and everything hoping the buses will come‚” he said.
“We are hoping that at the end of this dark time there is some silver lining and that people will still get some time to spend with their families over the Easter weekend‚” said Wilson.