Strike Season Not Over Yet

Strike Season Not Over Yet


After years of high levels of industrial action and work days lost owing to strikes and protest action, 2013 kicks off on a similar note.

COSATU has brought a section 77 application aimed at addressing “the slow pace of socio-economic transformation in South Africa”.

The federation is threatening to embark on protest action to demand a radical transformation of the economy with the idea of benefitting the majority of South Africans.

Industrial relations in South Africa

The current state of industrial relations in South Africa is bleak indeed, with rising tensions and violence having significant economic impact and inevitably job losses.

Investor Services recently downgraded South Africa’s sovereign credit rating to BBB from BBB+ and placed the country on a stable credit outlook. This follows sovereign downgrades last year by Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s.

Among the reasons provided were the violent strikes and increased social tensions that had affected growth and the current account.

Added to this concern in terms of credit ratings is the high level of labour unrest in the country, which has kicked off with a bang in the agricultural sector.

This strike action is a clear illustration of the state of the labour environment. Unprocedural strikes can have severe ramifications for the industry and the economy of as a whole. These can include:

  • Job losses
  • Loss of production
  • Potentially the closure of certain businesses.

This has often been something that appears to have been overlooked or even ignored by the striking workers. If there is no company anymore because of strikers’ actions – or if it suffers losses – there will either be no employment or large-scale retrenchments.

Why protest?

Reasons listed for COSATU’s planned protest action include:

  • The unemployment crisis
  • The poverty crisis
  • The income inequality crisis
  • Labour market performance
  • Ownership and control of the South African economy: inequality in economic power
  • The land question
  • Macroeconomic policy
  • Access to quality education
  • Access to quality healthcare.

The protest action

If there is no firm commitment in addressing its demands, COSATU indicates that it will have no option but to mobilise its members for a protest action which will take the form of marches, demonstrations, pickets and stay-aways.

Please note that due to an error at the time of uploading this article, it did not originally appear with the correct byline. Entrepreneur would like to credit the article to Jonathan Goldberg and Grant Wilkinson. Their full bios appear at the foot of the article.

Jonathan Goldberg and Grant Wilkinson
Jonathan Goldberg is the CEO of Global Business Solutions. He is a nationally acclaimed consultant, lecturer, attorney and author on matters relating to Labour Law, Industrial Relations and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment. Jonathan is also an Arbitration and Mediation panelist, member of Tokiso dispute settlement panel. Jonathan’s broader business leadership and acumen was recognized when he received the Border-Kei Chamber of Business/Daily Dispatch businessman of the year award for 2009. Recently Jonathan was awarded the Business Person – Entrepreneur 2012 award at the annual ABSA Jewish Awards. Global Business Solutions