Embed from Getty Images

Both Golden Arrow and MyCiti buses won’t be running from Wednesday

Bus commuters in Cape Town face a difficult week as local bus operators confirm an indefinite nationwide strike will start on Wednesday.

The notice of strike action was delivered as talks between unions and employers broke down at the South African Road Passengers Bargaining Council. A bargaining council is where an entire industry negotiates employment conditions between all unions and all employers at the same time. Negotiations will continue between now and then, and it’s still a possibility that the strike could be avoided.

The unions are demanding a 12% wage increase across the board – with a minimum basic wage of R8 000. Employers are offering a 3-year agreement with 7 % for the first year, 7.25 % in 2019 and 7.5 % for 2020.

Golden Arrow Bus Services spokesperson Bronwyn Dyke-Beyers says they are hopeful that an agreement will be reached soon, but says that “if the strike action goes ahead, Golden Arrow will institute a nationwide lock-out. (But) commuters with weekly and monthly clip cards that are valid when the strike commences will be extended when the service resumes.”

Cape Town City’s Brett Herron says the MyCiti service is carrying about 72 000 passengers daily. Herron confirmed the service won’t run in the event of a strike. He says, “we regret the inconvenience this will cause … it will (also) add extra pressure to the road network.” He added a plea to employers to consider flexible working arrangements to accommodate employees who use public transport.