08/05/2018 07:33 SAST | Updated 08/05/2018 07:34 SAST

Hope For End To Bus Strike As Parties Meet With New Proposal

A deferment agreement could see an end to the four-week-long bus strike.

Commuters wait to board a bus during a strike in Soweto May 17, 2010.
STR New / Reuters
Commuters wait to board a bus during a strike in Soweto May 17, 2010.

Bus companies will meet on Tuesday to discuss a new offer which could end the strike, now into its fourth week, eNCA reported.

Unions demanded a 12% wage hike, while the bargaining council reportedly suggested an increase of 8.75% in the first year and 8.25% in the second year. The unions later lowered their demand to 9%.

In a new proposal, some of the issues on the table, including medial aid, payment of night shift allowances and working hours could be deferred to a task team established under the Commission for Conciliation, Arbitration and Mediation (CCMA), Business Day reported.

If this is approved, the strike could be over by Wednesday.

South African Transport and Allied Workers Union spokeswoman Zanele Sabela told Business Day, "If the proposed offer is accepted, it will give us two years to fight for the other demands." Workers are currently considering the new wage offers presented by employers.

So far, the parties have been deadlocked on several occasions. One of the problems is reportedly the fact that government is continuing to subsidise affected bus services despite the strike.

The unions reportedly said in a statement,

"We think the employers' extreme arrogance is informed by the fact that the state is helping them by subsidising them while this strike is under way. It is outrageous that while our members are being denied wages during this strike, the same taxes which are deducted from them are being used to reward the greedy, selfish bosses of the bus companies."

But the employers have called the unions' demands too high.

According to Daily Maverick, negotiations collapsed last Thursday, but the parties agreed to meet on Tuesday to discuss the proposed deal.