The Nelson Mandela Bay economy is being severely affected as the bus strike, entering its seventh day today, goes on.
Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber chief executive Nomkhita Mona detailed the likely effect of the strike, pointing out that of the 365 days this year, only 250 were working days.
“The economic impact will be severe,” she said.
“The manufacturing sector alone contributes 16.4% to the [metro’s] economy.
“Taking working days into account, the estimated gross value-added contribution of the manufacturing sector alone to the city’s economy is R76-million.”
So public transport disruptions could cost the metro’s manufacturing industries dearly, she said.
The government has called on all parties to work speedily towards finding a solution to the impasse.
The Labour Department will today facilitate talks between unions and employers following failed meetings with the CCMA last week.
“Transport is an important sector in growing our economy,” acting government communication director Phumla Williams said.
She appealed to workers to conduct their strike within the bounds of the law.
“We appeal for tolerance, particularly in the taxi industry, to allow commuters to use lift clubs and other forms of transport.”
Unions initially called for a 12% pay hike, but had yesterday dropped their demands to a 9.5% increase for the first year and 9% for the second year. Employers are offering 8%. South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union provincial organiser Nomonde Dawa said members would continue picketing outside the Algoa Bus Company depot in Korsten today.
She said there had been no violent incidents and strikers had dispersed peacefully.