Strike taking people into poverty - economist

Strike taking people into poverty - economist

2014-04-30 15:00

Johannesburg - The ongoing strike in the platinum mining belt is taking workers into poverty as it enters day 97, economist Mike Schüssler said on Wednesday.

"It's ludicrous, you are taking people into poverty," he said in Johannesburg presenting the 2014 Uasa South African Employment Report.

In other countries where people went on strike, unions had enough money available to pay striking workers the wages they lost while on strike.

In the case of the platinum strike, the union was currently paying striking workers less than R5 a month.

"You really are taking people into poverty," he said. "Not relative poverty but real poverty."

Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) at Lonmin [JSE:LON], Impala Platinum (Implats) [JSE:IMP] and Anglo Platinum (Amplats) [JSE:AMS] downed tools on January 23.

Schüssler said about 70 000 people were on strike in the sector but this affected over 120 000 people directly.

"Every week this strike goes on, more people will be affected," said Schüssler.

In the past two years, eight million work days had been lost due to strikes.

"The strike does impact on the economy. It plays a big role on the confidence in the economy."

Entry level workers had so far lost about R26 775 a person in wages alone and R5 016 in benefits.

Schüssler said it would be nearly impossible for the workers to recover from what they had lost. Mining production this year would also show a decline.

  • Kiss123 - 2014-04-30 15:05

    they don't care Mike, we care , they don't have jobs they sit under the trees, and collect grants, have more kids and blame apartheid for it !

      Karl Kat - 2014-04-30 16:14

      I feel very sorry for those effected by by the stike because it is beyond their control especially those who have bussinesses associated with the platinum business and non striking emplyees who might lose their jobs as a result of restructuring which will be a definate but the strikers must suffer, they deserve it

      Joe Black - 2014-04-30 16:23

      They must realize that god helps those who help themselves.

      TBang Bang - 2014-04-30 22:53

      Kiss, why the f@xk do you have to be racial?? This thing is affecting everybody. There are those who want to go work but cant for fear of being attacked. Grow up man.

  • Ryan Kotze - 2014-04-30 15:18

    haha!! R5 a month, hahahahahaha!! You deserve what you get for voting ANC and joining the Unions!! VIVA ANC VIVA ANC !!! Poverty for life!!

  • Henk Delport191 - 2014-04-30 15:24

    Let them sit under the trees they volunteer to vote amca into power now they regret it their chief in charge stay in mansion with full pay from gold mines amca members stoporders think before make big dissision that can influence your children and famili future

      Tom MadeofHonour Marothodi - 2014-04-30 15:50

      They should have sent these workers home the first month of the strike, so they could be isolated with there families and see the Poverty they are causing at home instead of sitting at mountains singing like they are in a choir(mob mentality). come monday the strike will be gone.

  • Sithembiso Goodman - 2014-04-30 15:28

    they must make sure they are back at work by May 9.. otherwise Marikana 2 is coming... no one will be begging for Votes that time..

  • Alicat Cat - 2014-04-30 15:32

    They don't see poverty but they enjoy Loitering in the street like HOBOS but let them enjoy what they like most.But if there's any 1 to be BLaMMeD it must be their BRainless leader Mathunjwa.

  • Gerhard Vermaak - 2014-04-30 15:37

    Notwithstanding the comments already posted I find it sad that the workers are allowing themselves to become pawns for a union who obviously does not have their best interests at heart and is hell bent on proving a point, I can understand the push for a minimum wage but not if what you are asking is not affordable and you are not prepared to negotiate and you end up losing. There are not going to be any winners here. SAD SAD SAD

      Imagine Sense - 2014-04-30 18:53

      Quite right. Mathugwa is fighting his "class war" and does not care one bit about the terrible poverty he is causing. Nor does he care about the destruction of mining jobs or the damage to the economy. He is playing "Commander in Chief", bodyguards and all. He should be thrown in jail.

  • Limakatso Malebo - 2014-04-30 15:40

    we are tired of this strike we want to go back to work we earn nothing till now

  • Limakatso Malebo - 2014-04-30 15:51

    we are lost to chose amcu because we earn nothing while others earn R5 he give it to those who are going with him or what? this amcu thing is rubbish is the same like num

      Klaus Muller - 2014-04-30 16:03

      Form Armed Selfprotection Unit's, approach Employer, go back to work (Live again in Workers Hostels until further notice)

  • Mike Machaba - 2014-04-30 16:10

    A piece of bread is better than nothing,, it's time this guys goes to work or the mines hire people who are willing to work for 6000 a month rather sitting under the trees and waiting for Mathunjwas mad promises.Deploy the army to escort those who really want to go back to work or declare state of emergency at marikana. MATHUNJWA can't just hold our economy ransom and get away with it. It's time our government must stop this nonsense.

      Roger Pacey - 2014-04-30 18:02

      The government has no mandate to intervene in legal industrial action. They, and COSATU, ran ramshackle over business' concerns about labour legislation, including the clauses on secret strike ballots. We are left wondering how long this strike would have lasted had AMCU been forced to hold a secret ballot, where workers wanting to return to work could express their opinion without intimidation.

  • Deon Louw - 2014-04-30 16:23

    This union is far too militant for a democracy, boot them out.

  • jerome.fakoe - 2014-04-30 16:29

    People were living in poverty before the strike

      John Lee - 2014-04-30 16:41

      Yes and now they have ensured that their children will continue to live in poverty.

  • Choco Maiden - 2014-04-30 16:44

    I don't support the strike but from reading some of the comments I think we forget the power(lessness) of poverty. A lot of these workers probably want to return to work. But peer pressure and intimidation might be a deterrent, which is real for them but not for us.

      Chris May - 2014-04-30 17:52


  • Matlhaba Bushupeng - 2014-04-30 16:54

    Strike is a position taken by workers .the resolution is between workers and employer.why are u workers only for a resolution ?

      Imagine Sense - 2014-04-30 18:49

      When the workers' demand too much, then a resolution cannot be achieved. The employers have made very reasonable offers, which have been sullenly rejected. Why? Because Mathugwa is fighting a "class war" (his own words) and the workers are only foot soldiers in his war. He does not care if they die.

  • Choco Maiden - 2014-04-30 16:55

    The responsibility for this mess lies squarely with the union which is selfish, is a failed negotiator, is too proud to admit its failure and doesn't have these employees interests at heart. How do you, from the outset decide to let low income workers sacrifice their low salaries? Not even a single month's salary should have been sacrificed as the unions were being paid to negotiate on the employee's behalf. The reality is the union failed to achieve its objectives during the first negotiations. And failure doesn't become success even if you achieve the objective 6 months later.

  • Frans Rabalao - 2014-04-30 17:00

    Pay enough then NO strike will occure

      Lara van Rooyen - 2014-04-30 18:04

      There is no such thing as enough.

  • Lindiwe Malindi Ka-Zoko - 2014-04-30 17:03

    Let the companies open the mines gates u wil c tht worker wil report 2 work especially AMCU members as well as myself*this is nt only affect mine workers *Mathunjwa think about the others n stop being heartless n selfish*whites r getting their full pay while we r starving 4 nothing.

      Lindiwe Malindi Ka-Zoko - 2014-04-30 18:05

      Beannie u cn say its a stupid comment its ok cos some of black workers who r also part of management are nt getting their pay*as much as our union r concentrating on 2 ppl frm Easter cape as if they r only workers hu r on strk*Mathunjwa wil nver gt wat he want his jst scared 2 giveup his empty promises

      Zelda Gerber - 2014-04-30 18:18

      My mother works at one of these mines. She is not top or any other management, but she and all those (black and white) who are working are getting paid.

      Ipeleng Carthbert - 2014-04-30 22:40

      Lindi dnt pretend to be an Amcu member ,gates are open you can go 2 work & i suspect u must be working in the store

  • sxp - 2014-04-30 17:17

    For years the unions have been blackmailing the mines and country, so break them once and for all. common sense needs to be used by workres, not stupid demands.

      sipho.masango.714 - 2014-05-01 08:31

      i can't believe mathunjwa can hold the whole country at ransom like this, the labour law must be reviewed with immediate effect, there shud at least be something the companies or businesses do in cases like this, otherwise!

  • - 2014-04-30 17:27

    These strikes are only going to make the mine look at mechanize the mining process and then there will be even less work to go around, but having said that the mining industry has to change and there is an opportunity for the industry to revamp and re look at how they operate.

      Roger Pacey - 2014-04-30 18:07

      True, but mechanisation doesn't happen overnight. Also, it is highly capital intensive. If the platinum market is looking as bad as they say, it would be a brave CEO to commit massive funding to it. Add to that the wide discretionary powers of the minister over the mining industry, hardly an incentive to invest.

  • Paul Vermaak - 2014-04-30 21:00

    Yes , for those who don't believe in God , they will believe in the devil .

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