The Star reports that bus companies say that if they agree to the demands of striking workers, they might have to increase their fares. Bus drivers have been in a three-week-long strike over salary increases.
They are demanding a 9.5% salary hike, while the employers are offering a 9% salary increase from this month until March. This would be followed by an 8% hike from April 2019 to March 2020. Speaking for the employers’ caucus, John Dammert said that if they buckled to the workers’ demands, fares might have to increase, which would in turn disadvantage commuters. “Ultimately, the low-income commuters will have to subsidise the cost, and that is unacceptable. Bus drivers have been getting good increases in the past 10 years and they earn well, comparable to teachers and nurses,” Dammert noted. Zanele Sabela of the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) said Dammert’s threats of bus fare increases were unreasonable because companies received subsidies from the government annually. “What we are asking for isn’t unreasonable. Bus drivers do not have medical aid, pension and provident funds, while the average bus driver earns R6,900. We are not asking for much,” Sabela said.
- Read this report by Tebogo Monama in full at The Star