File picture: David Ritchie/ANA Pictures
Cape Town – Chaos is expected at transport hubs on Wednesday morning as the nationwide bus industry strike gets under way.

Congestion is also expected on the country’s roads as more taxis ferry commuters to work and people make use of their cars. Passenger trains on the Cape railway lines will be overflowing after Metrorail indicated they will assist in getting people to work.

The strike is a result of deadlocked wage negotiations between bus companies – Golden Arrow and MyCiTi – and trade unions who are party to the South African Road Passengers Bargaining council.

They have been in wage negotiations for weeks and reached a deadlock on Monday.

The council revealed that over 40 demands have been tabled, and among those demands was a 12% increase in wages.

“At this point only unions will decide how they will conduct the strike, ” said the general secretary for the council, Gary Wilson.

He said the effects of the strike could potentially cripple the economy. “The strike could have a huge impact on the economy, we’re looking at around 30 000 employers that will be affected by the strike.”

Golden Arrow said they were in no position to fix the current situation. “We remain ever aware of the integral role that our services play in the lives of our passengers,” said Bronwen Dyke-Beyers, spokesperson for Golden Arrow. She added commuters were advised to keep their weekly and monthly clip cards.

Zanele Sabela, spokesperson for Satawu said their demands included improvements in the work schedule of bus drivers.

They also wanted the reduced shift of 17 hours cut down to 12.

Metrorail has been approached by the City of Cape Town to assist bus commuters who will be affected by the strike.

Janine Myburgh, of the Cape Chamber of Business, said the strike came at a time when Metrorail was underperforming and running at close to capacity during commuting hours, leaving commuters with few alternatives but private cars and taxis. 

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Cape Argus