Oliphant: No excuse for lawless strikes

2012-09-27 07:37

Johannesburg - South African legislation provides for protected peaceful strikes, which should obviate the need for illegal strikes accompanied by violence, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant said on Wednesday.

In a statement she said that the constitution and the Labour Relations Act give workers the legal right to demonstrate their grievances to the public and other workers who have chosen not to strike.

"There is therefore no justification for the recent wave of unprocedural strikes when the legal requirements are so clear and straightforward."

There could "be no debate" that strikes and pickets should be conducted peacefully.

"There can be no excuse for lawlessness," said Oliphant.

She dismissed economic and academic commentators who criticised government for "what they call lack of effective intervention".

Through the Labour Relations Act the government has established mechanisms to deal with labour-related issues.

"For government to simply jump in on labour market operational issues carries the risk of undermining the role of the very institutions that it has set up," she said.

A wave of unprotected strikes recently hit the mining sector.

In early August workers at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine in the North West downed tools demanding monthly pay of R12 500.

Ten people were killed in violence associated with the strike before August 16, when another 34 were killed when police opened fire on protesters at nearby Wonderkop.

Although the workers returned to work after negotiating a 22% pay rise and a once-off bonus of R2 000 each, illegal strikes have spread to other mines.

Two weeks ago workers at Anglo Platinum [JSE:AMS] (also known as Amplats) in Rustenburg embarked on an illegal strike.

Workers at Gold Fields' KDC West mine went on a wildcat strike on September 9, then at the West Section of Beatrix (formerly Oryx Mine) on Friday, and at the rest of the Beatrix mine by Monday.

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  • mattewis.kat - 2012-09-27 07:59

    Like Mike Smith said: "This is only the beginning......."

  • attie.gerber.1 - 2012-09-27 08:02

    this minister is also one of the cadres employed in a cozy job. what has done to address this strike issues by addressing the people herself. she also no guts and sits in her fancy office. it is the first time she has made any comments about the law of the land. catch a wake up minister or you should also be relaced by somebody that can talk to the people direct

  • sean.odonnell.1466126 - 2012-09-27 08:18

    Well, let this Gov do something about it then. Clamp down on the Unions and illegal strike action, before these idiots turn this country on it's head for good. Oh, but if you alienate the Unions, out of the window goes the ANC voting base... Can't have that now, can we? It is nauseating, that these people place their political careers ahead of national interest and life quality of the masses.

      susan.pretorius.31 - 2012-09-27 08:29

      I agree.After living in a small town for 25 years we are finally getting a small mall opening tomorrow.There are plans to boikot it because some shops use people from outside this area.After all the hard work put into getting everything ready, who do these people think they are to intimidate people from visiting the shops? Most people from other areas are just here to provide training.How is it possible that you cant even open a new business without being intimidated?

  • steve.ritchie.739 - 2012-09-27 08:19

    Yo Mildred, get out of your comfort zone and do something about it. Show these hooligans that, if they are not prepared to play by the rules, then they will get whacked. Typical cANCer move. No backbone.

      nicholas.graan - 2012-09-27 08:35

      Year after year we see the same thing ...violence, trashing and sometimes murder and year after year we hear the authorities saying it "will not be tolerated" yet it is tolerated. It was tolerated last year and year before etc etc and this year will be no different. The truth is, they don't really know how to handle it or what to do.

  • juan.prinsloo.750 - 2012-09-27 08:26

    The minister speaks 100% sense. Now to educate the severly mentally challenged Malema supporter, good luck with that Ms Oliphant

  • alf.pop - 2012-09-27 08:43

    Newsflash: South Africa still has a Labour Minister! The things you find out when you least expect it!

  • toni.falletisch - 2012-09-27 08:56

    Armed strikers need to be charged with intimidation and given hard labour sentences with no pay.

  • djmain1 - 2012-09-27 09:17

    When the rich rob the poor, it's called business. When the poor fight back, it's called violence....

  • strikeback.strikeback - 2012-11-21 19:38

    Yeah right

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