Bus strike called off

The crippling bus strike that left hundreds of thousands of commuters stranded has been called off.
Transport Omnibus Workers Union (TOWU) spokesperson, Tony Franks, confirmed on Monday that an agreement has been signed by two of the employers’ associations; the South African Bus Employers’ Association and Commuter Bus Employers’ Organisation (Cobeo), as well as the five unions; the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu),TOWU, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), the Tirisano Transport Workers’ Union and the Transport and Allied Workers’ Union of SA.
Mr Franks said: “The strike has been called off and now we are communicating it to all members.”
Cobeo spokesperson, Meshack Ramela, said employers expected all workers to report to duty on Tuesday. “They should be reporting to duty as per their shifts,” he said.
The industrial strike which started on April,18 was nearing its fourth week.
It followed a deadlock in three-months of negotiations ​during which unions called for a 12% across the board increase while employers offered only 8%.
Through a series of negotiations and interventions by both Minister of Labour, Mildred Oliphant, and Minister of Transport, Blade Nzimande, unions lowered their demand to 9% which was later put on the table by employers for this year.
​Mr ​Ramela said the issue regarding the back pay had been sorted. “The unions came back and modified their demand. It was signed on the basis that there would be back pay but not on wage benefits.
“We will back pay from April 1 to April,17 only. Then the increment goes in effect from the date of signing.”
​Late on Monday May 14, Golden Arrow Bus Services (GABS) issued a statement saying that it would lift the enforced lockout at midnight that day. 
“Golden Arrow will institute all measures to facilitate the restoration of scheduled services, however, due to the short notice, all staff members may not be timeously informed of the end of the strike. 
“While the company will endeavour to restore all scheduled services, we wish to apologise in advance should passengers experience inconveniences due to the short notice of the resumption of services.”
GABS said detailed information regarding the clipcard extension process would be made available shortly.
Meanwhile the City of Cape Town said  the MyCiTi service will also resume from tomorrow morning, May 15. 
It has warned though that it will take several hours for the service to settle in and commuters should expect some initial delays on their routes.  
Commuters are also advised to visit the MyCiTi website on www.myciti.org.za for regular updates; and to follow them on Twitter @MyCiTiBus; or to phone the Transport Information Centre for both bus services on 0800 65 64 63, which is available 24/7.

– Additional reporting by the Cape Argus​