Strike season South Africa cartoon

Strike season South Africa

Strike a Pose in South Africa

Strike season has struck South Africa once again with NUMSA (National Union of Metalworkers of SA) and Ceppwawu (Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers Union) taking the lead in the nation’s alternative July handicap. This year has seen a bloodier start than usual and there is every indication that the season will be a protracted one.

Strikes in South Africa are generally accompanied with more violence than back-to-back Steven Seagal movies. They are also accompanied by many happy faces toyi-toying and generally causing havoc with all those not participating in their celebratory time off work. Considering that strikes are an annual event leads Wonkie to believe that both the Union reps and the affected corporates have incompetent negotiators.

By no means is Wonkie suggesting that the issues are trivial, or that an easy solution can be found. But the fact that all parties have to repeat the same process every year is indicative of a supremely stupid system being in place. Common sense dictates that all stakeholders involved – the workers, the corporates, the national economy and consumers – would all benefit with some sort of long term agreement based on a shared vision.

Instead, the negotiations revolve around percentage points rather than principles. The effects of this for the country is staggering. Besides the increase in violence, and the loss of production, this turmoil actually increases unemployment, and indirectly the cost of living for consumers. The formula is simple: wage increases + reduced productivity = increased price of goods.

Perhaps, some day, government will see the value of getting involved to prevent his annual mess – particularly in the larger industries that affect the GDP, like mining and manufacturing. State intervention may come in the form of tax breaks for certain industries with a specific design so as to rechannel funds to the pockets of the workers. This would reduce the burden on corporates somewhat and also help keep inflation in check. In fact, this could well take the form of a redistribution of wealth initiative where government can tax the rich a bit more, ring-fence the amount, and give back to blue-collar workers through a structured programme.

In the meantime, if unions and corporates could at the very least negotiate, in advance, an agreement on the key issues that spans over a five year period and have this set in stone, then many South African industries wouldn’t grind to a halt for a few weeks each year. Alas, given the abundance of myopic thinking, Wonkie’s monopoly money will be on having a similar set of strikes same time next year.

PS: be sure to fill your petrol tank up as the Ceppwawu strike is expected to go on indefinitely. Petrol stations across South Africa are likely to run dry within a few days if no resolution is reached.

Click to leave YOUR THOUGHTS on the impact of Strikes in South Africa.

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If you’re in need of a boost to your confidence or some guidance in terms of your career in general, you may want to consider personal coaching for life as an effective way forward. To learn more about coaching with a twist, you can also visit Wonkie’s funny life coaching page.

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If you’re not affected by the strikes and not a member of any union, spend the money you would have spent on your union dues to buy lottery tickets online. This week’s EuroMillions lotto jackpot has rolled over once more and is currently over a nice, juicy $200,000,000. If international lotteries, top Indian online casinos or the best slots casinos don’t interest you, then visit Wonkie’s recommended pages for additional variety.

Related articles on strike action in South Africa:

  1. Garbage collection strike
  2. Doctor’s strike
  3. Telkom strike
  4. Sympathy strikes

Click to leave YOUR OPINION on annual strikes in South Africa.

Bleh!2 Stars3 Stars4 StarsAwesome! (3 raters, Click a star a star to rate this article)


  1. Dukie 743 says

    It is the parasite greedy politicians at all levels of government and all political parties of South Africa that will one day ignite a revolution that will make events in Libya, Syria, Egypt and Tunisia look like a rowdy Sunday afternoon picnic in the park. The greed of the SA politicians knows no bounds. They live in absolute luxury whilst millions of South Africans live in shacks , in the cold and are starving. The politicians put up the prices of essentials but the infamous ministerial handbook state that they do not have to pay for them. Toll fees, petrol, electricity, water etc are all free for these despicable thieving politicians but it is they that drastically increase everything thus indirectly calling for strikes and demands for the working class. Zuma, is the highest paid head of state in the world but is excempt from paying income tax. As is Motlanthe and all of the eight ex presidents and ex deputy presidents including Mbeki, Buthelezi and De Klerk. The ministerial handbook excempts them all from paying tax. The politicians in South Africa are a disgrace.

  2. Strikes is ECONOMIC SABOTAGE and Sabotage used to be punished by DEATH to the Saboteurs and in my Opinion this Sabotage is destroying this country as only the Employed striker benefits more wages but loses in the long run as the increase is now lower than the increase in the cost of living.
    What a vicious circle by the uneducated STRIKING Masses.Only UNION BOSSES are BENEFITING BIG WAGES FROM THE PAYING WORKERS.
    Now the SH!T that hit the fan in the Western Cape concerning unspent Billions and of course by all the other State institutions not using there grants is absolutely sabotaging JOB CREATION.
    If those money`s were to be used,do you know how many jobs will be created and how many thousands will be employed and how many millions of Rands will be available for the many thousands of extra employed people have to spend that money to live .
    This scenario develop`s money flow and demand and eventually a significant drop in the price of ALL Comodoties in the Market.
    YOU DONT NEED A ROCKET SCIENTIST to work this out,IT IS COMMON SENSE which this Country HAS NOT GOT on do not want to see as the few want to Enrich themselves.
    All Government institutions guilty of this practice must be FIRED and Charged for ECONOMIC SABOTAGE.
    ALL THIS POVERTY CAN END OVER NITE by 90% if all those Billions were released to build Schools,Hospital and repairs the IMPORTANT INFRASTRUCTURE of this COUNTRY which needs an EXTENSIVE WORK FORCE earning income instead of the Government paying out BILLIONS in GRANTS to the UNEMPLOYED.
    Just a few Examples:
    1.Water Works,purifying and laying of water to remote rural areas.
    2.Sewage Plants
    3.Roads(Potholes and Tarring of ALL Gravel Roads and new roads to inaccessible communities.
    4.Hospitals and Clinics in inaccessible communities.
    5.Electricity and supply to rurals.
    8.Old age Homes
    9.Law Enforcement
    10.Clearing the Country of Invasive Plants
    So much more to mention and all this can be paid for out of the TAX that is paid by the Tax Payer as above is the responsibility of our GOVERNMENT.
    All of above and more is LABOR extensive and wage earners that will spend those WAGES to keep the ECONOMY RUNNING like a WELL OILED machine.

  3. There a “holy cows”; “foot-in-mouth” cows, and “cash-cows”. The latter come in handy when it comes t strikes in S.A. So let’s another bovine breed: “strike-cows”.

  4. this is iportant to engage in to advance negotiation for salaries and wages between union and employers organisation because it is incoviniencing workers to plan for their money. Government and unions are still on the negotiation table while workers should get their salary increment on May 2011 now its July still no solution.Food prices are up and petrol is up insurancepolicies also up what we earn is peanuts.

  5. Through out history, demanding above inflation rate increases always causes disaster as it effects all industry costs and some companies have no option but to rationalize and the first they do is cutting down on employees. With result the unemployment rate increases. Australia is on job sharing so all can have an income. This applies to most retailers and the nursing industry. The working hours or days are reduced. They never complain or strike about it and is happy to have an income. For those who are physically unable grants are given and medical examinations are required on an annual basis. No wonder it is one of the best countries to live in. Crime is not tolerated and no such thing as bail. The Australians are very law obedient. Traveling with my daughter on a country road she stopped when she saw a plastic bottle lying on the side of the road, picked it up and stuffed it in the car garbage bag. You can check out any Oz city or town on the web and guaranteed you will see no litter around.
    We just have too many dissatisfied citizens here, not happy about anything. The big real issue is soon to happen, when they start realizing what is really happening in our ruling party there is going to be a terrible uproar from the majority. The M&G had an article today on Malema accusing the US of being killers but he forgets that he sings the same tune. I do not want to sound like a prophet of doom but the worse is yet to come. Boerkie has mentioned the important issues that should be enforced but for their own pocket sake it is being ignored. I think that they operate with the mindset that the majority has been used to live for years with little why should they want to be different now? The president earning far above his worthiness tells us what it is all about.

  6. pietpompies says

    Surely it is time now for the government to intervene in these strikes. But the weak leader Zuma is nothing nothing will be done or said. Strikers want more money but production will not increase relative to the percentage asked for. South Africa is becoming less competitive all the time. Walk into most shops to buy from clothing, household items or any thing in that line and you will see it comes from China. It feels as if you are actually shopping in China. More often than not the items on sale are of poor and inferior quality.

  7. Hendrix L says

    As a nation we are fucked – There is no turning back. Monkey see monkey do.

  8. My husband just informed me that some of the strikers do have a reason. Many of the mineworkers work 14 hrs a day 6 – 7 days a week for R3000 per month. The mining companies profit will not be so effected as salaries is an expense before tax. What it actually means is that the taxable profit will be much lower and so the state will earn less. He says that so the state will earn less and the hard workers more which is acceptable. The problem is the way that unions handle the matter, they should leave it to the companies auditors to advise on increases and workers should have access to the companies financial reports and appoint an expert to negotiate in their presence. This does not have to be in the form of riots and violence, there is no reason why it can not be done in an orderly manner. All companies should restructure to accommodate all employees on a scale basis, without employees a company can not have a sustainable business and should reward their employees accordingly. This way there will be a big reduction on royalties paid to overseas countries and more money remains here. We must under no circumstances adopt the chinese method of manufacture and trade it is inhuman and slavery. South Africans must learn to buy local in stead of raving about wearing important or having important appliances. We can and should produce our own.

  9. Of course we dont have good negotiators. what do you xpect from an appointee based merely on the fact that he/she is outspoken. what about relevance and qualification? Political appointments are good but to a certain extent. Think of a political originated negotiator , he/she will make show that she pushes the other side to the last edge inconsiderate of principles and status aquo. This, she does to ensure she keeps her position for the qualification is to what workers want nothing less …something which a qualified one will avoid and put up a fight on merit and without fear of the unhappy majority most of which are illiterate and fail to understand what their demands actualy mean to the society & economy that is feeding them.if i am qualified ,i can not go out to please because i would have earned my position academically. Negotiators must be scholars not merely a former Robin Island prisoner,her friend or relative.

  10. Bosses are forever demanding productivity increases and rewarding themselves with bonuses for the aforesaid increase but only offer somewhat degraded inflationary increases to the workers and then fight like hell to maintain the below par wages that the workers earn. It can be said that every business gets the Union it deserves, maybe if productivity was linked to wage increases over and above inflation all our Labour conflicts may become a thing of the past. As for the comment that Government must get involved, are we being stupid the Government messes up enough for us not to trust them with labour relations. Let the employers and the Unions sort it out between themselves. Labour wants mor pay and benefits, Employers want market share and profits, somewhere between those two poles sits a solution, Government wants neither option and therefore has no commitment to ending strikes. We should do away with the LRA and the CCMA.

  11. Pietpompies, wake up! Chinese quality in amny respects is excellent and where it is not it is improving daily. It is only a prejudiced and jaundiced eye that sees Chinese products in a poor light. I own two fishing rods, an HD TV, a PC and printer, most of my clothes and shoes, an umbrella, four camper chairs etc, etc.. all made in China, the quality is as good as anything I can get that is locally made or imported from the Triad. I do however own two Japanese cars because they are extremely safe, reliable, comfortable, economic and have good resale value. I have no doubt that Chinese cars will inevitably reach this standard, if in fact they are not almost there. We should all open our eyes, Is Chinese investment and intervention far preferable to the European intervention (colonialism) which brought us the slave trade, genocide, disease, domination, war and occupation.

  12. The government approves of lower wage and salaries for employees except their own outrages salaries. The companies then makes more profit and it means more taxes for them to spend. Rather compensate employees for their efforts and give the govt less to waste. We do that now in a legal way and give as much as we can to help those in need that is a registered charity organization. Government institutions wants to pay less salaries so they can have more for themselves. It is very obvious that most govt responsibilities are not done. They seem to be more concerned about other countries. Helping Zim Swaziland, etc. Charity begins at home and then what is leftover (none now) may be given to others in food, and items needed. Most these other countries also take the money for their own use and forget about the needy. The trucks going to Zim daily with food is not the issue but who distributes it and ensures that it arrives at the destinations it was intended for remains the big question. We have heard from some that it is being sold and not handed out to the needy. Who has verified and checked on these statements made??

  13. Once upon a time Zim had strike seasons similar to the current SA ones, but its now a thing of the past … now there is nothing to strike for. South Africa learn a lesson from your neighbours.

  14. The masses voted for their favourite party who has screwed up this country. Now they are striking. What do these idiots want?

  15. Strikes sabotage the country. Sabotage is treason. In many countries treason is dealt with with a firing squad. what happened to the idea of making yourself more valuable to your employer to earn more, eg education, skills upgrade etc

  16. a-maize-ingly-corny says

    “You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

    “When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it”

    So said Dr Adrian Rogers in 1984. Dr Rogers was three times President of the Southern Baptist Church in the USA and was the author of 18 published books. Born in 1931, he died in 2005

  17. Findley Watson says

    The role of the unions have outplayed itself. One can undertand that the voice of the unions in the past regime was the only vehicle to voice the opinion of the the majority, however, that is no longer the case. It now has become a power base for all the so called representatives of the working man, irrespect of the consequences it has on the economy.
    I believe earnings should be structured in certain catogories and inclusive of a government subsiady and in that way create the distribution of wealth,not by taxing the “rich”. This must include all members of goverment irrespect of their status. It must be understood that the so called “rich” have for decades carried the biggest burden of tax to prop up the coffers for an incompetent state spend.

  18. a maize ingly true, “Strange I know someone who has just started at a college in the USA. and with their motivational speech Dr A Rogers was quoted many times.

  19. I have noticed that the racist supporters of Jim, Jimmy and Fatboy have not entered this argument maybe they are embarrassed that 20% of the population pays more than 80% of the taxes, provides 80% of the jobs and at least half of those are white. Kick them out and you are left with 10%, the new balck middle class paying for everything and because of the Nationalisation debate they will not be able to afford what the country needs and the economy will go down the tubes.
    What they should be fighting for is better education, subsidised public transport, reduced crime and to get rid of most of our pernicious labour legislation.

  20. Spiritwolf says

    Sometimes “to go on strike” is used figuratively for machinery or equipment not working due to malfunction, e.g. “My computer’s on strike”.

    I think this country is malfunctioning and is being bled dry, the US had the same crippling effects, until we depower them we will never recover from the economic loss these yearly strikes cause to either the countries economy, or even the strikers wages/salaries and unemployment. Many do not ever consider the long term rippeling effect of either protracted strikes or yearly strikes.

  21. NONKULULEKO says

    Strike is the language the employers understands better.Comrades need not force other workers to join them.This is the democratic country,to go on strike,they are practising their democratic right and when they dont go on strike,they are also practising their democratic right.GUYZ,we musnt mix this with politics.They didnt vote to go on strike,the constitution is for every citizen of this country,Maxie,get your facts right,dont misled the south africans with your distorted facts.Poor people on the ground are getting peanuts,they cant be rich with their salaries,they need to make ends meet,lets them strike! Tell the employers to have conscience when paying their workers.Viva comrades viva! You will get what you want!

  22. Strikes causes havoc and has an adverse effect on the poor low income groups, The negotiations are not done the correct way and employees do not take use of their rights to have companies disclosing their profit margins. Normally all companies listed have their audited financials published. Why do the unions not look at that. Government institutions are no longer paying salaries according to job descriptions but according to nepotism. The negotiators should jack up their economic knowledge and use other more meaningful strategies that will suit both employers and employees. Most companies are anti strikes and feels less obligated to increases when more losses are incurred via strikes. So it becomes a this for that situation. Get back to the days when each position had its own renumeration scale and you knew what your earnings will be. That way your goalsetting is motivated by yourself as to which profession you should study.

  23. Spiritwolf says

    ACTUALLY…we on this forum do not need to make it political as the unions have done that already, many strike are politicaly sanction and are political movements, if you live under a rock you may not think that, but sadly the poor, black, coloured, indian, white, chinese world wide suffer and never recover, why you ask? well simply, a protracted strike on many occassion has economy effects, take for example the current one, if it goes on long enough their will be no fuel, no fuel means no transport, no transport means the small business man cannot get to work, and also cannot get deliveries for his corner location shop, ergo cannot earn a living. also the minimum wage person cannot earn a living, take for eaxample household cleaners cannot get to work, ergo dont earn money, ergo many houses having poor children do not get might imagine this is a vast exageration, but sadly it is not. Unions bosses hardly ever spell out the truth of negotians to their members and the impact their violent actions have on damage, yes that has to be repaired and paid for again that normally wouldnt of had to be, also factories and refineries need a couple of days to restart, couple that with the bad fuel index, and add to the cake a struggling economy with massive unemployment. The governemtn is not doing itself or its citizens by allowing unions to be A) political influenced B) seemingly above the law where rampant violence occures.. and thats just the tip of the iceburg…

  24. Spiritwolf says

    and aparently my spelling is too terrible..i blame previous post o bad education or spell checkers.. 😛

  25. I sincerely hope that the unions realize that they are going to be held responsible for all violence and damages caused by their members. They obviously have enough funds to do so as well as compensating their members for loss of income.

  26. Sincerely hope you all are aware that Samwu is planning a very big strike, their aim to get at Zuma for conning them to abandon their previous planned strike before elections, the anc was concerned that it will effect their votes. This coming strike is not planned to be peaceful but to cause havoc, this could lead the country into a civil war if not handled correctly and the current rules have shown repeatedly that they have no control on any important matter.

  27. Please Wonkie we need help. Was asked a question today by an American and said I can not answer but will find help to do so.
    Question: Should Zuma be asked at an International Forum to write a proposal on an issue. Would he be able to write one without any help?
    Can anyone help?!!

  28. Hi Peace, you are correct, he could not write anything. Take a look and listen when he next makes a speech he reads from a pre-prepared speech written by someone else. He sounds like that kid at school who could not read to the class, he also sounds like he never read it before and thus sounds like he does not know what he is talking about. He also cannot talk off the cuff like Cameron, Zille, Obama and a few others probably because he knows nothing.

  29. Thanks Garth,
    I am going to forward it from the email to my friends in USA. They are actually taking the micky out of Peanuts and me, but it is all in a game of fun. They mentioned that Obama can do a speech without preparation in a second and is on top of all the topics. No wonder they spell Zuma’s name “Zoo-ma ar waar kom jy vandaan” this commented by their Artgentenian home executive who speaks a bit of afrikaans.

  30. Will pass their comments back to you but it takes a day or two.


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