Cabinet warns against violence during strike season

Pretoria - As collective wage negotiations get underway, Cabinet has called on strikers to refrain from violence.

“Cabinet recognises that in a democracy, workers have the right to strike. Cabinet emphasises that such right must be exercised in a non-violent manner and in full compliance with the law,” acting Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams said on Thursday.

Speaking to the media following the executive’s regular meeting, Williams said it was the responsibility of trade union leaders, employers and the state’s security services to ensure that the law is upheld and that provocative actions are avoided.

She called on all parties to use their efforts to settle negotiations as soon as possible and to avoid protracted disputes.

“Such expeditious settlements will help to reduce the costs to the economy and promote the achievement of the country’s jobs and growth goals.”

Cabinet’s call comes as September will see a series of sectoral wage contracts come up for discussion, kicking off South Africa's so-called "strike season", which often sees both the employed and the jobless take to the streets.

Various economic sectors in South Africa, including mining, construction and automobile sectors, are currently engaged in wage negotiations.

With the country experiencing tough economic times and unions emboldened by hefty wage increases granted last year to end strikes, analysts have predicted difficult months ahead.