Bus strike to continue until all demands met

Numsa’s Jim calls on unions to stay united in negotiations

Numsa’s Irvin Jim, left, and Mphumzi Maqungu at the Coega Village in Motherwell
Numsa’s Irvin Jim, left, and Mphumzi Maqungu at the Coega Village in Motherwell
Image: Fredlin Adriaan

The national bus strike is set to continue, with Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim warning unions to stay united until all demands are met. Drivers from at least 10 companies, including Algoa Bus, downed tools on Wednesday, demanding a 12% pay hike.

In Nelson Mandela Bay, scores of workers had been picketing peacefully outside the Algoa Bus Company in Perl Road, Korsten, since the strike started on Wednesday last week.

Jim was speaking at a special regional congress in Motherwell at the weekend.

Addressing about 250 members, he highlighted the importance of strengthening the working class.

“As comrades we should not take each other and our responsibilities for granted.

“Every conference should be a platform to learn something and gain confidence, to continue to better represent the workers.

“What makes us strong is when we are united as a family and the task of this conference is to preserve unity among our members and its leadership.

“We are mobilising the working class as on its own, a class that cannot be defeated, a working class that is the industrial proletariats,” he said.

Jim said Numsa had been in talks with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

“We are no longer sleeping at Numsa. I went to the CCMA and I watched how unions operate. I was humbled.
“As unions we need to stand united, if this strike comes to an end because one union went behind our backs and settled, it would jeopardise our demands.

“The bus strike is affecting the economy and we are aware that it is not ideal, but we tried everything and this was the last resort.” Other demands include: ý That alternative drivers are paid in full while travelling;

ýA subsistence allowance for drivers on long distance trips; and

ý A night shift payment allowance.

On Friday, no decision had been made on the demands, with the next meeting scheduled for Wednesday.

South African Transport and Allied Workers Union provincial organiser Nomonde Dawa said the strike would continue.

“No one wants this strike and the biggest impact is on our community.

“The strike will continue because no agreement was met last week.

“This strike is hitting the commuters hard and we are mindful of this, but the employers refused to offer a reasonable percentage.”

Dawa said if the companies came to the party, buses would be back on the road.