Some of the longest strikes in SA

File: Marchers get ready for the national minimum-wage strike earlier this year. Photo: eNCA/Athi Mtongana

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa is used to workers downing tools and taking industrial action.

Strikes are normal in a democracy but they can be economically consequential, especially if prolonged.

The current bus strike continues, to the inconvenience of commuters.

The strike has entered its fourth week as drivers press for better pay.

Here are five other major strikes that have been staged in South Africa post democracy.

2007 public servants strike

Hundreds of thousands of public servants embarked on a four-week strike, affecting schools and hospitals in particular.

The strike lasted 28 days as unions representing workers demanded a 12-percent wage increase. They eventually settled for 7.5 percent.

2010 public servants strike

In July and August 2010 public servants across the country downed tools.

Unions representing 1.3 million workers demanded an 8.6-percent pay increase and a monthly housing allowance of R1,000, backdated to 1 April 2010.

Both parties eventually agreed on a 7.5-percent increase.

The three-week strike was estimated to have cost the economy R1-billion a day.

2012 Marikana strike

The massacre resulted from as a wildcat strike at a mine owned by Lonmin in the Marikana area of North West.

On 16 August 2012, 34 men were shot and killed in clashes between rival mineworkers' unions and the police.

The first protests were staged on about 10 August 2012.

By the time the violent strike ended in September, an estimated 45 people had been killed.


2014 platinum belt strike

On 23 January 2014, almost 70 000 platinum-0mine workers went on strike.

Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) at Lonmin, Impala Platinum, and Anglo American Platinum downed tools, demanding a monthly basic salary of R12,500.

The strike was the longest work stoppage in South African history.

It continued for five months and cost workers earnings of around R10.6-billion. The industry lost R24-billion in revenue.

2016 Pikitup strike

Refuse-removal workers in Johannesburg downed tools in March 2016.

Garbage went largely uncollected in the city for weeks and piled up, causing a health hazard.

The illegal strike eventually ended after 23 days when unions and the company reached a wage agreement.

 

 

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