The bus strike‚ which has left thousands of people across the country having to find alternate transport for the past four weeks‚ will continue.
This was the dire outcome of the latest round of negotiations between unions and employees. The offer‚ which included a 9% wage increase for year one‚ an 8% increase for year two and various allowances‚ was to have kicked in from the date of signing the agreement‚ which would have been Friday‚ April 11.
It was this date clause that led to the offer being "overwhelmingly" rejected.
In a joint statement on Friday‚ five unions said: "We have consulted our members from all the regions in different parts of the country. Our members have overwhelmingly rejected this offer.
"This is because the employers in the sector refuse to backdate the agreement to be applicable on the 1st of April 2018. The general practice in any sector when on a strike is that the agreement is backdated to reflect the date when the new wage agreement is supposed to take effect‚ which in this case is the 1st April 2018.
"Instead‚ the employers want the agreement to be implemented from the date of signing and this is unacceptable to our members. We believe that they are provoking our members unnecessarily."
The unions said they were desperate to end the strike but not if workers lost out.
"We want to end the strike because we recognise that it is in the best interests of our members and the community at large. For every day that this strike drags on‚ workers suffer because of the ‘no work‚ no pay’ policy.
The unions said the bus strike would continue until agreement was reached on the date issue.
The five — the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union‚ the Transport And Allied Workers Union of South Africa‚ the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa‚ the Transport and Omnibus Workers’ Union and the Transport and Services Workers Union — thanked their members for sticking to their guns throughout the strike.
"They made the ultimate sacrifice by giving up their wages in order to secure these concessions. We also want to extend our gratitude to bus commuters and we continue to ask for their patience. They are suffering with us during this strike‚ and we are grateful for their support‚" the unions said.