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Numsa accepts 'sell-out' bus driver wage increase

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Cape Town - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has accepted the “sell-out” wage settlement and bus drivers who are members of the union will return to work, Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said on Saturday.

Following extensive consultation with regions in all nine provinces, Numsa had decided to end the strike in the passenger bus sector, he said.

“Despite being the second-biggest trade union in the sector we had to accept this sell-out deal for the sake of industrial peace and stability in the sector and we therefore urge all our members to return to work.

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MyCiTi buses resumed operations on Saturday.Photo: David Ritchie

“We want to inform employers that it will take time for all our members to return to work. We expect that by Tuesday (tomorrow) all our members should be back at work.

"We also want to remind the employer that we will not tolerate any victimisation of our members for their participation in the strike,” Jim said.

Numsa would continue to pressure the labour department “to do proper oversight” in the passenger bus sector.

The fact that Numsa members, even under the new wage agreement, would continue to be exposed to dangerously long hours without compensation was shameful.

“We are inspired by our members who demonstrated great courage and determination during the course of the strike. They were also extremely disciplined. We salute you for fighting for a dignified life for yourself and your families,” Jim said.

Gautrain spokesperson Kesagee Nayager said Gautrain bus service drivers returned to work on Saturday.

Cape Town’s Golden Arrow and MyCiTi services also resumed on Saturday. This was announced on Friday after it had been notified by the SA Road Passenger Bargaining Council (Sarpbac) that a nationwide strike had been settled.

Read also: Bus strike over, but not the union war

“The general secretary of the bargaining council, Gary Wilson, stated that the majority of the parties accepted the offer that was tabled and that in terms of the Sarpbac constitution this will be binding on all the parties that are represented in the council,” Golden Arrow said in a statement.

“Due to the Easter break and the unexpected speedy resolution of the strike a skeleton staff will be on duty.”

The announcement came after the City of Cape Town also announced its MyCiTi bus service would resume operating from Saturday following the strike being settled.

“We expect that the service will normalise and that most buses will adhere to the weekend time schedule as the day continues,” mayoral committee member for transport and urban development Brett Herron said.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant on Friday announced the strike was over as the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union, the Transport and Allied Workers’ Union of SA, and the Transport and Allied Workers’ Union accepted the 9 percent wage deal, signing an agreement binding all unions in the sector.

Numsa and the Transport and Services Workers’ Union rejected the offer, with Numsa defiantly announcing the strike would continue.

AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY

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