A NATIONAL strike has been called by the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu), and the Transport and Omnibus Workers Union, which could leave thousands of commuters stranded.

It is likely the strike action will continue indefinitely, with wage talks between bus companies and unions having been deadlocked since February. Unions are demanding an 18% salary hike, while employers are offering a 6.5% increase.

“We have failed to reach an agreement and our members will be striking as from tomorrow (Friday),” said Satawu spokesman Vincent Masoga.

On Thursday, City of Cape Town authorities said they were bracing themselves for some disruptions during the strike period.

Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport, roads and stormwater, said this strike would affect all public transport modes in the city, including MyCiTi — which would experience minor disruptions — and Metrorail, as the suspension of Golden Arrow Bus Services would lead to an increased demand on other modes of public transport, and greater volumes of private vehicles on the roads.

“As public transport is an essential economic service we are doing all possible to ensure that all those who rely on the MyCiTi service are not abandoned, and that the negative impact on the city economy is minimised,” said Mr Herron.

“As part of our commitment to being a well-run city that uses all possible resources to ensure the ease of movement of residents across the city, the city will do all it can to ensure that all MyCiTi services remain operational. We plan to continue with operations, although there may be delays, particularly in the busy peak periods,” he said.

“We request that employers assist us by considering how they can accommodate their employees (to) travel to and from work when public transport is constrained by allowing flexible working hours commencing before or after the peak period.”

Mr Herron said Cape Town had established a joint operations centre to monitor the strike and provide enhanced security to ensure that commuters could travel safely.

Source: BDLive – Bekezela Phakathi