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Issued on behalf of the EMPLOYER PARTIES of the South African Road Passenger Bargaining Council (SARPBAC), being The South African Bus Employers Association (SABEA) & the Commuter Bus Employers Organisation (COBEO)

National bus industry negotiations have once again collapsed and unions have indicated that they will revert to their previous demand of a 12% increase.

This latest blow means that as the national bus industry strike continues for a third week; millions of South African commuters’ woes will ultimately extend to increased ticket costs once services resume if labour’s unrealistic demands are met.

These demands are completely out-of-sync with the current economic climate and will have to be passed on to commuters through increased ticket costs.

To put these demands in to perspective, the industry average wage for a bus driver currently sits at R16 000. In stark contrast to this an independently verified survey has shown that more than 65% of commuters earned less than R4000 in 2016.

This means that if a 7% increase is factored in over the last two years; the average commuter earns less than a third of what a bus driver earns in 2018. A 12% increase and a concession to other demands from labour would further widen the increasing gap between what drivers and commuters earn.

Inevitably these costs would have to be passed on to commuters who, like employers, are simply not in a position to afford exorbitant and unrealistic increases.

Employers therefore call on labour to critically assess the catastrophic effects that unreasonable demands would have for millions of South African commuters who already struggle to put food on the tables for their own families.

Employers would like to reiterate their commitment to reaching a sustainable and reasonable agreement which would safeguard employment within the industry and protect commuters from unavoidable ticket price increases.


Average monthly salary for commuters in 2016 R4 000
Average percentage of monthly income used for travel costs by bus users 15 -20%
Average annual wage increase in the bus industry over the last ten years 9.22%
Average CPI over the last ten years 5.39%
Average annual increase in commuter subsidies over last ten years 5.19%
Average monthly remuneration for bus drivers in South Africa R16 000
Bargaining council minimums for heavy vehicle drivers in other industries
R3 250.56 – R8 776.34

Estimated average monthly salary for police officers in South Africa R13 834
Estimated average monthly salary for high school teacher in South Africa R16 210
Estimated average monthly salary for nurses in South Africa R18 840

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