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Cape Town - Golden Arrow Bus Services (Gabs) and transport unions have warned of a looming national bus strike.

The warning follows a deadlock in annual wage negotiations, between the employers association and five transport unions: SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) , Transport and Allied Workers Union of SA (Tawusa), Transport and Omnibus Workers’ Union (Towu), National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and Tirisano Transport Workers Union (Taswu).

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The negotiations started at the SA Road Passenger Bargaining Council (SARPBAC) National Bargaining Forum in January. The unions proposed a one-year 12% across the board (ATB) wage increase agreement with a minimum basic wage of R8 000, while employers offered a three-year agreement with 7% ATB for the first year, 7.25% for 2019 and 7.5% for 2020.

According to Satawu, employers want to keep the current basic minimum wage of R6 070 and only increase it by the agreed ATB. Those entering the industry for the first time this year would be paid the basic minimum wage of R6 070, regardless of whether the hiring company has a higher minimum wage.

The two parties were issued a certificate to strike by the CCMA. The two parties were also given a 30-day cooling-off period, which expires on April 16.

“Golden Arrow would therefore like to inform its passengers that unless an agreement is concluded by April 16, it is likely that a 48-hour notice of pending strike action will be issued. This means that a national bus industry strike could commence on April 18,” said Gabs spokesperson Bronwen Dyke-Beyer.

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Cape Argus