Violent strikers won’t be taken seriously – labour minister

2011-07-14 07:00

Violence by strikers would prevent their demands from being taken seriously, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant said yesterday.

“It undermines the system of collective bargaining in this country,” she said in a statement.

Oliphant urged workers to find peaceful methods of reaching agreement.

“The [engineering] industry is critical to the economy of the country and a prolonged industrial action is certainly not in the public interest, hence the appeal that the parties must endeavour to find a solution.”

She said negotiators experiencing difficulties should talk to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, instead of resorting to violence.

About 170 000 workers from Numsa, the Metal and Electrical Workers’ Union and the SA Equity Workers’ Association started a countrywide strike last week, demanding wage increases ranging from 10% to 13% and a ban on labour brokers.

Several other unions from the chemical, transport, petroleum and energy sectors joined in this week.

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