Striking rights

2009-04-13 00:00

The nationwide truck drivers’ strike that has been driven by the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu), and which has been in force in the last week, has shown what appears to be an alarming degree of violent intolerance. Of those drivers who have continued working, at least one has been killed and others wounded, and a number of trucks have been petrol bombed.

Similarly, a strike at the Education Department’s service centre last week turned violent when non-striking employees were reportedly pelted with eggs and tomatoes as they entered or left the Old Mutual Building in Langalibalele Street, and were forced to work behind locked gates.

Workers in a democracy have rights. While one of these is the right to strike in protest at treatment deemed unfair, another, emphatically, is the right of those who wish to do so to continue working during a strike action. No worker, striker or otherwise, under any circumstances, has the right to threaten or attempt to intimidate colleagues with whom they disagree.

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