Today's Labour News

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gideonduplessisGideon du Plessis, general secretary of Solidarity, writes that a consequence of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union’s (Amcu’s) four-month long strike at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold mines was that by the end of March the loss of income of the 14,000 striking union members averaged R56,400 per striking worker.  

In other words, the workers are striking themselves into a position of hardship and penury as they will never get those lost wages back.  Du Plessis cautions that, with wage negotiations in the platinum mining sector about to start, all trade unions should take a lesson from Amcu’s poor judgement and make sure they are fully aware of the loss of income strikes bring.  Du Plessis points out that when employees embark on strike action, they forfeit their pay for the duration of the strike.  Striking workers can accept this loss if, within an acceptable period, the success of the strike compensates for the loss of income during the industrial action.  But if it’s going to take several years before a strike is compensated by the improved wages, then it’s better to accept the lower offer.  When a strike is being considered, trade unions and their members should first think about how long after the strike workers would be prepared to work to compensate for losses incurred during the strike.  The decision whether or not to strike should be based on that.  In Du Plessis’ view, Amcu’s Sibanye-Stillwater strike is illogical.

  • Read Gideon du Plessis’ article in full at Miningmx

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