The South African Road Passenger Bargaining Council (Sarpbac) has announced that unions at the passenger bus wage talks have accepted a 6% wage offer and signed a deal with employers in the sector.
This comes after months of tense negotiating between employer representatives and labour at the bargaining council, which threatened to collapse into a national strike in late April.
The unions, namely the National Union of Mineworkers of South Africa, South African Transport and Allied Workers' Union, and Transport and Allied Workers' Union, returned to the negotiation table after a deadlock was reached ahead of the Easter weekend when employers said they could not afford unions' 11% increase demand.
Employer associations South African Bus Employers' Association and Commuter Bus Employers' Association revised their initial offer of a 2.5% wage increase upward to 6%, which the unions have now accepted.
Sarpbac general secretary Gary Wilson said the wage hike applies to the actual wage rate as well as allowances. Wilson said the wage increase would take effect as of 1 April retrospectively, and the agreement will be in place until 31 March 2023.
"The increase in allowances was one of the sticking points as unions pointed out they had remained unchanged in the previous two years due to financial challenges brought on bus companies by Covid-19," said Wilson.
"The settlement will see the minimum wage in the sector rise from R40.43 per hour to R42.85 per hour. Allowances such as night shift, subsistence and travel, cross border, double driver and the tool allowance will all go up by 6%," Wilson added.
Wilson said the issue of primary health care benefits in the sector was referred to Sarpbac's central committee for further engagement and research.