The parties to the South African Road Passenger Bargaining Council (SARPBAC) have failed to conclude a national wage agreement and the trade unions have notified employers of their intention to embark upon strike action with effect from 00h01 on Friday, 19th April.

In the light of this, Golden Arrow Bus Services (GABS) advises that all scheduled services will as of this date, be suspended as a result of this unfortunate development. In order to protect the company’s staff and assets a lock out of all Bargaining Council staff will be imposed.

While the Employer Parties have offered a 6,5% wage increase to all employee categories, Labour is currently demanding, amongst others, an 18% wage increase for all categories of staff, an absolute industry minimum of R 8000 per month, a housing allowance of R 1 800 per month, 90 days sick leave and additional contributions to medical aid and retirement funding.

The impact of these demands applicable to the entire workforce would have seen the minimum wages of the highest paid category of eligible employees increase by 20%, bus drivers by 20% and the wages of employees in the cleaner category by 121,04%. These excessive and unrealistic demands are way beyond the means of the road passenger commuter sector which has managed an average income growth in the order of 5% per annum over the past 4 years and which expects revenues to increase by around 5% for the period April 2013 to March 2014.

The negotiations have been further complicated by Labour’s unwillingness to make any meaningful concessions and/or to give favourable consideration to the needs of all the affected parties including passengers, economic indicators and the operational realities that the sector has to contend with.

Golden Arrow Bus Services wishes to apologise to commuters as well as the general public for the inconvenience that will be caused by the strike action and will endeavour to keep all stakeholders fully informed regarding further developments.