Pupils from Vissershok and Alpha primary schools stranded in Dunoon during the bus strike.
Pupils from Vissershok and Alpha primary schools stranded in Dunoon during the bus strike.
Commuters have been asked to brace themselves for further disruptions and traffic congestion as the national bus strike is set to continue this week.

Last Friday the unions representing striking members called for the action to intensify by seeking non-striking workers to join the strike to force the employer’s hand, after talks with the bargaining council collapsed.

The unions rejected wage offers of 8.5% and 9%. They seek a 12% increase.

National Co-ordinator for the South African Transport and Allied Worker’s Union (Satawu), Solomon Mahlangu, said although they were ready to get back to the negotiation table, they did not foresee the situation being remedied in the next week.

“When we left discussions on Friday we told the employer as well as the CCMA that as labour unions we will avail ourselves at any time for further discussions,” he said.

“We think that from our side we have taken every step in order to resolve this matter but the employers don’t come to the party so we are waiting for them to approach us and want to talk further.

“The call to intensify the strike was done after we did an assessment and found that although our strike action is effective, there are still places where you find operations are running and we said we need to go into their spaces and mobilise the workers. If we don’t all come together to fight for liberation and transformation, who will do it for us?

“At this point we have not heard anything from the employer to come and resolve this before the new week begins, so the likelihood is that it will go beyond Monday, in fact we think it will go beyond next week.

“We sympathise with stranded commuters and we ask them to be patient as we resolve them, we ask them to use alternative transport in the interim.”

The strike, which started last Tuesday, saw thousands of commuters left to seek alternative modes of transport to get to work, mainly taxis.

Congress for the Democratic Taxi Association (Codeta) in the province, Andile Khanyi said the taxi industry was already strained and called for an urgent resolution.

Cape Chamber of Com- merce and Industry president Janine Myburg said although it is too early to tally the costs of the strike, it still impacts on businesses and other sectors.

“Many businesses have been affected, some in small ways like increased absentee- ism but the costs will all add up. The strike has created prob- lems and disruptions for every- one from schools to factories but at this stage the damage is impossible to quantify,” she said.

“My other concern is that conditions vary greatly from one region to another and national bargaining does not take this into account.

"In addition many employers are more generous than others and provide excellent benefits to staff. I don’t believe this ‘one size fits all’ approach is the best way to go. A bigger increase may be justified in some areas but not in others.”