Numsa ups the ante and calls for a 10% raise as the bus strike looms
A nationwide strike in the bus industry ahead of the Easter holidays is fast approaching as employers refuse to meet workers’ demands, said the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa).
Passengers from bus companies such as Putco, Golden Arrows, Autopax, Greyhound, Mega Bus and Coach, Gauteng Coaches, Great North Transport and many others could get stuck before Good Friday.
The union spokesman Phakamile Hlubi-Majola Monday accused the South African Association of Bus Employers (SABEA) and the Commuter Bus Employer Association (COBEA) for refusing to “bargain in good faith” and disclose their government subsidy income.
“There are exactly ten days left to the end of the reflection period, April 13, two days before the weekend of Good Friday.
“In terms of the law, we will have the right to give 48 hours’ notice for a national strike. The strike is likely to start shortly before the long Easter weekend.”
Employers also received their subsidies during the tough lockdown, when restrictions were placed on the number of passengers aboard a bus, he added.
“They refused to disclose and yet claim that the subsidy is not enough to support their operations. They also claim that they cannot afford our demands.
“Unfortunately, we have no reason to believe these claims are true because these employers are not transparent. As far as we know, they could exaggerate their financial position to deny workers the increases they deserve by right ”.
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Application for a 10% wage increase.
Numsa made a wide range of requests to employers, which included medical assistance for all workers and other benefits. The union also wants workers earning R7,800 to be moved up to R12,000 per month.
However, employers said the demands were unsustainable and only offered a 2.5% increase. They also proposed that only those who were employed before March 2022 could benefit from the increase.
A new 10% wage claim across the board was now on the table, Hlubi-Majola said.
“That’s about an increase of R780 for the lowest paid. We don’t think this asks for much, given the great sacrifices workers have made over the past two years to cushion the industry.
“What the working class deserves is a salary that sustains life and allows workers and their families to take care of themselves and their basic needs.”
On March 14, Numsa was issued a strike certificate. The union said it had decided to first observe the 30-day cooling-off period, which will expire on April 13.