National spokesperson at South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu), Zanele Sabela, says bus companies are trying to escape a wage agreement.
This follows an application by five bus companies to be exempted from a recently signed bus sector wage agreement, citing financial difficulties.
Sabela says they had a hearing with Putco and other unions in which Putco said that it can't afford to pay an increase that was negotiated in May of 9% this year and 8% next year.
From where we are sitting we can see that there's money coming in. They've also increased bus fare by between 8 and 14% which outstrips inflation by far.— Zanele Sabela, Satawu spokesperson
They transport about 200 000 passengers a day... we suspect the reason they are not making money is in the way they spend, and we feel it is not fair that the workers should be paying for that.— Zanele Sabela, Satawu spokesperson
Sabela says a panel of commissioners will look at both Putco and Satawu's submissions and give them a report. She says Golden Arrows as well as Algoa will be making submissions too and the commissioners will decide whether they should making representations or just written submissions.
To hear the rest of the interview with Satawu's Zanele Sabela, listen below: