Long queues of frustrated commuters across Cape Town have become a familiar sight as the nationwide bus strike continues. Trade unions said on Friday that members would not accept the employers’ offer without back pay at the increased rate from 
April 1. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)
Commuters can brace themselves for another week of bus strikes as trade unions representing bus drivers say members have rejected offers presented by employers because of the absence of back-dated pay from April 1.

In a joint press statement issued by the unions on Friday, they said bus employers are offering a 9% across-the-board wage increase for the first year as of the date of signature, which was May 11 and an 8% across-the-board increase for the second year.

The offer also includes increases in nightshift, subsistence, cross border and tool allowances.

However, unions said that their members were refusing this offer as employers did not want to backdate the agreement to April 1.

The statement reads: “The general practice in any sector when on a strike is that the agreement is backdated to reflect the date when the new wage agreement is supposed to take effect, which in this case is the April 1, 2018. Instead, the employers want the agreement to be implemented from the date of signing and this is unacceptable to our members.

“As unions in the sector we reject the attitude of the employers regarding the effective date of the agreement. We believe that they are provoking our members unnecessarily. We want to end the strike because we recognise that it is in the best interests of our members and the community at large. For every day that this strike drags on, workers suffer because of the “no work, no pay policy”.

The strike is going into its fifth week and has had a ripple effect on all other forms of transportation.

In Cape Town, people have complained of long taxi queues, congested roads and the impact it has had on their pockets.

Melaney Roodt said travelling from Mitchells Plain without the bus service had become “extremely inconvenient”.

“The train service only runs as far as Philippi on a good day and the waiting time for a taxi to town is a minimum of three hours, never mind the dangers of being on the roads that early to wait for a taxi.”