By Hassan Isilow
Tens of thousands of South African commuters have been left stranded or footing high bills after bus drivers went on a nationwide strike seeking better wages and working conditions.
“I had bought a monthly bus ticket to take me from home to work. Now I have to pay more money to use minibus taxis, which are expensive,” Johannesburg resident Malume Jackson told Anadolu Agency.
The strike, which started last Monday, continued this week after employers and workers failed to reach a settlement.
Zanele Sabela, spokesperson of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union, told Anadolu Agency that workers are demanding salary hikes of 9.5 percent but employers are balking.
A bus driver in South Africa earns a minimum monthly salary of 6,070 rand ($500), with work shifts stretching past 10 hours.
Zanele says nearly 20 percent of South Africans depend on buses to commute daily, as they are both safe and fairly priced.
“One bus company called PUTCO transports 200,000 passengers daily,” she said, adding that 50 bus companies are taking part in the strike.
Labor strikes are common in South Africa, where trade unions fight for workers’ rights.