Bus Strike Looms As Workers Demand Medical Aid



Buses are an important part of the public transportation industry in South Africa. However, they may not be transporting passengers come to the end of the week, as they gear up to strike.




Around 20,000 people are employed in South Africa’s Bus Passenger Sector. However, the sector could be halted as workers gear up to strike. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) says the strike will likely commence before the upcoming long weekend and will greatly inconvenience passengers.

NUMSA said passengers should direct their anger towards the employers, represented by the South African Bus Employers Association (SABEA) and the Commuters Bus Employers Organisation (COBEA) who they accused of provoking the strike. 

We have obtained a strike certificate, and if the employers do not come back to the negotiating table, we will have no choice but to resort to a full-blown strike and this is likely to impact the upcoming Easter Weekend.

The union explained that workers are demanding a wage increase as well as medical aid benefits. 

The Current Offer Recommended By Mediator

  • Two-year agreement from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2025
  • 7% increase for year one and year two on the minimum wage
  • All employees will receive a 7% increase on all allowances for two years
  • Healthcare must be dealt with at the company or plant level, and not negotiated at the National Bargaining Forum (NBF).

The union believes that points about medical aid must be dealt with on a national level. 

Most companies will refuse to grant the benefit and this is why we want this matter to be resolved in this round of negotiations, at a national level.

NUMSA spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola says that many of the workers in the sector are classified as low-earners which means that they cannot afford medical aid. 

Hlubi-Majola says workers are determined to secure some kind of commitment from employers that they will be able to have some kind of medical aid cover when they leave the negotiation table. 

Medical insurance is a life and death matter for our members, the majority of whom, cannot afford medical aid on their salaries. The lowest-paid workers are earning on average about R7800 per month therefore, medical aid is unaffordable.

The employers have offered workers a multi-year agreement which will see workers receive a 6% increase only over the three years. This offer is on condition that workers drop their demand for medical aid. 

NUMSA called on employers to return to the negotiation table to find a solution to issues around medical aid. Coming to a compromise would enable the union to avert the strike.


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