The numerical horror

Strikes … so abundant in South Africa that they even have their own season, but what is the real cost of industrial action? Jan du Toit, senior consultant at the South African Labour Guide, paints the numerical picture in his piece: Strikes in numbers – which cites The Annual Industrial Action Report for 2013, released by the Department of Labour (DoL), as its source.

“In 2012, the monetary impact of strikes reported to the DoL amounted to R6,67 trillion compared to ‘only’ R1,07 trillion in 2011. The recently released statistics for 2013 do not look much better in any way,” Du Toit points out.

According to data collected and analysed in 2013 by the DoL, there was a rise in the number of strike incidents, but a drop in working days lost, in 2013 when compared to 2012. “About 114 strike cases were identified and recorded by the department,” says Du Toit. “The number of strikes recorded is greater than strikes recorded in the last five years. It represents an increase of 15,1 percent from 2012 to 2013.

“Work days lost decreased by 44,2 percent from 3,3 million in 2012 to 1,85 million in 2013,” notes Du Toit.

The industrial action in the mining, manufacturing and transport industries have all had a bad impact on the economy of the country. Experts suggest that 2014 will be no different. “These strikes will continue to hurt the South African economy and its investment appeal,” adds Du Doit.

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