Bus drivers need year to recoup strike losses

Algoa Bus drivers protesting at the Algoa Bus Company depot in Perl Road, Port Elizabeth, as part of the nationwide bus strike regarding wage disputes.
Algoa Bus drivers protesting at the Algoa Bus Company depot in Perl Road, Port Elizabeth, as part of the nationwide bus strike regarding wage disputes.
Image: Deneesha Pillay

Bus drivers who engaged in a national strike would have to work for up to year to recoup the month’s pay they lost because of the no-work-no-pay rule.

That was the view yesterday of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry‚ which described the bus strike as a disaster that left behind only losers and no winners.

“If the unions had accepted the employers’ initial offer of a 7% increase, the workers would be better off than they are today‚” chamber president Janine Myburgh said.

The unions settled for a 9% increase – but workers lost nearly a month’s pay because of the no-work-no-pay rule.

“It will take a year of higher wages to wipe out their losses and pay back the loans many of them needed to put food on the table for their families‚” Myburgh said.
Bus passengers were also hurt financially by having to pay higher travelling costs to get to work using alternative means of transport such as taxis.

Employers were affected by higher absentee rates‚ workers arriving late and the knock-on effect on production.

“Even worse is that the strike has poisoned industrial relations,” Myburgh said.

She said there were lessons to be learnt from the strike.

“What we need is more democracy in the workplace and that means secret ballots before industrial action can take place,” Myburgh said.

“That gives more power to the workers.”

ALSO READ

X