Today's Labour News

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strike thumb medium85 85BL PREMIUM writes that while SA trade unions have been crying foul over the workers’ right to strike being attacked by the bosses, they might have done a better job at undermining this fundamental constitutional right on their own.  

The worsening levels of violence during industrial action have weakened the powers vested in the bargaining tool that is a strike, and lost unions the high moral ground that garnered them public and stakeholder sympathy in the past.  Although the problem of violent strikes has dogged the mining industry for decades — dozens of people could lose their lives during what are commonly prolonged strikes — the trend has spread to other sectors over the years, with casualties recorded during most prominent strikes.  The ongoing eight-week wage strike by Numsa in the plastics is said to be a case in point.  Employers have been turning to the courts to halt disruptive industrial action and have come out with victories that will change the game forever.  The introduction of the new strike laws, effected with the signing of amendments to the Labour Relations Act into law two weeks ago, will also put limitations on how strikes are conducted.  The popular sentiment is that the bosses and, more recently, the government are behind the attacks on the strike protections.  But, the reality is that the right to strike is on a slippery slope and workers, who may need to exercise it legitimately in future, will find new obstacles — not because of government legislation but due to their own failure to protect its sanctity through their rash actions.

  • Read Theto Mahlakoana’s full original article in this regard at BL Premium (paywall access only)

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