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John Bradford
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The backlash of long-lasting strike action

05 April 2014, 09:53

Back in the 1980’s in the little village of Howick, in heart of the KZN Midlands, the biggest manufacturing factory BTR (British Tyre and Rubber) Sarmcol’s (South African Rubber Manufacturing Company Limited) labor force went on strike.  At the time their wage demands where unrealistic, firstly due to an ailing economy in the country and secondly imports from South Africa had almost come to a grinding halt because of economic sanctions imposed on us by the rest of the western world who rightfully condemned us for apartheid.

The strike led to almost the entire workforce losing their jobs as the company-BTR Sarmcol could not meet the demands of the union. The factory downsized, reducing its output capacity, and the remaining workers held on to their jobs. The town never fully recovered from the strike, unemployment remained high, and many of the people in the surrounding townships battled to survive.

In the 1970’s the unions largely contributed to the demise of a large manufacturing industry in the United Kingdom. If it was not due to a strong Prime minister who took the unions to task, and said enough is enough, the country would have been plundered into darkness.  This once booming economy, has never truly recovered from the plight of the Trade Unions supported by the Labor Party by having placed unrealistic wage demands on industry. Instead socialist and communist countries with little or no respect for the working class began gaining a stronger foothold in the manufacturing sector as workers’ wages continue to be minimal. Workers continue to just to survive and never aspire to having any great level of material wealth.

Almost thirty five years later, apartheid and sanctions have supposedly gone and a new found freedom has started to reshape our future, which has been neatly labelled democracy. Our new South Africa is crumbling all around us as our leaders have learnt very little from the past living as they are under the illusion that they can do it right, and the west simply failed at not adopting or implementing these principles as we are white, and we are not Asian or black.

How can the EFF, South African Communist Party, COSATU, AMCU and other similar organizations expect to get it right when the country’s economy is already in a downward spiral. Do they think that they can sell all of the minerals we are mining back to us; it is like taking coal to Newcastle or oil back to the Middle East.

The time has now come for us to have a leadership with a backbone and instead of capitulating to these unrealistic demands placed on commerce and industry by these self-enriching socialists who ultimately only have their own interests at heart.

If we are to prosper as a county in the long term these manipulating stalwarts need to understand economics and policies that are made and to be upheld for good governance cannot to be simply destroyed by greed and the so called justification of monthly membership contributions that only enrich the union leaders and not the very workers they represent.

South Africa will never be able to compete in the world market if the strikes continue for unrealistic high wages, our low productivity, our high cost to produce comparative products linked often with inferior quality, a growing large unskilled labor force and a current government who has little or no integrity.

The time has now come for change the 7 May 2014 is around the corner as this could or could not be the tipping point for our country.

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