Numsa’s general secretary Irvin Jim. File picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso/Independent Media
Johannesburg – Secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) Irvin Jim on Friday defiantly announced that the bus strike continues, despite the majority of unions having signed an agreement.

"Three unions decided to sign agreement, as far as Numsa is concerned, the strike continues. We know this will cause problems but we are a worker controlled union," he told reporters in Johannesburg.

Numsa along with Transport and Services Workers Union (Taswu) have rejected the 9 percent wage deal signed by the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu), Transport and Allied Workers Union of SA (Tawusa) and Transport and Allied Workers Union (Tawu).

He rubbished a joint announcement by Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant and SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) secretary Zenzo Mahlangu earlier that the strike was effectively over after three out of five unions signed the wage deal.

Jim added that Oliphant and the other unions were not speaking on behalf of Numsa members. "As Numsa we will go back to to our members tomorrow (on Saturday) and get a mandate from them. If the minister communicates a message that the strike is over, we reject that with a contempt that it deserves. They can sign as much as they want...we are accountable to our members."

He decried working conditions that still needed to be addressed by employers, and said that government needed to do its part to ensure that the sector is transformed.

The industrial action, which affected commuter bus services, especially long distance services, began on Wednesday. There were long queues at bus stations as commuters, in possession of paid bus tickets, were left stranded.