Cape Town - The SA Road Passenger Bargaining Council said the bus sector would count the cost of the month-long strike for years to come as employees returned to work today.

The employers and the five unions representing thousands of employees reached an agreement on wage increases, bringing an end to the strike.

The council’s general secretary, Gary Wilson, said the public did not realise the losses workers had suffered, because when employees strike for one week, it takes them years to recover due to unpaid debts.

“Their bonds, schools fees and even at company level their medical aids and pension funds have fallen behind. 

"So before they get to the point of getting back on their feet and getting proper salaries, those things will first be deducted.”

Wilson said the council had made some attempts at the weekend to make the parties reconsider the offers made on Friday.

“We then put a compromise for the parties to consider because we believed it was not in anybody’s interest to continue the strike, given the level at which the negotiations were.

“In that regard, we then made a compromise position for the employers to consider at least paying for the loss of wages in terms of increase for the period that the employees worked, as they did work from April 1 until April 17.”

Commuter Bus Employers Organisation spokesperson Meshack Ramela said bus companies agreed to backdate and apply the 9% wage increase for 2018 only on basic wages for the period of April 1 to April 17.

SA Transport and Allied Workers Union spokesperson Zanele Sabela said: “What delayed the end of strike was employers not wanting to backdate pay. 

"We are happy that workers received what they wanted. The outstanding issues like dual driver payment, night-shift allowances and in-sourcing will be referred to a task team.”

The City of Cape Town said its MyCiTi bus service would resume operations today

“The city has, however, warned commuters to still expect some initial delays as it will take several hours for the service to settle in. 

"Time schedules are expected to be back to normal on the majority of the routes in the latter part of the day.”

Golden Arrow Bus Services spokesperson Bronwen Dyke-Beyer said: “Golden Arrow will institute all measures to facilitate the restoration of scheduled services. 

"However, due to the short notice, all staff members may not be timeously informed of the end of the strike.”