Violent strikes 'get bosses to listen'

2012-10-23 22:34
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Johannesburg - Violent strikes are the only way to get bosses to listen, almost half of a group of young adults surveyed told market researcher Pondering Panda.

Forty-seven percent of 2 888 people questioned subscribed to this view, researchers said on Tuesday.

At least 26% felt violent strikes were against the law, and said strikers should be arrested.

Twenty-one percent said violent strikes were a waste of time, because the strikers were not better off afterwards. Six percent were unable to decide.

Fifty-three percent of young black South Africans felt violent strikes were the only way to get bosses to listen, but only 11%of young whites, 35% of coloureds and 25% of Indians felt this way.

White respondents were much more likely than blacks to feel that violent strikes were against the law, and that strikers should be arrested.

Fifty-three percent of whites felt this way, compared to 22% of blacks, 34% of coloureds and 35% of Indians.

Opinions also differed by gender.

Fifty-two percent of men were more likely to feel that violent strikes were the only way to get bosses to listen, compared with 43% of women.

The survey showed that 87% of young South Africans recognised that violent strikes affected food and petrol prices, so everybody suffered as a result.

This opinion was consistent across all demographic groups.

The provinces most likely to think violent strikes were the only way to get bosses to listen were the Eastern Cape (52%), KwaZulu-Natal (51%) and the Northern Cape (51%).

Shirley Wakefield, of Pondering Panda, said: "That so many of our youth feel that violence can be justified when it comes to airing grievances is sure to spill over into the political arena.

"What makes this all the more concerning is that young people feel this way, even while recognising that everybody pays a price for violent strikes, not just the strikers themselves. It would appear that they feel that this price is justifiable."

The survey was conducted on cellphones among 2 888 Mxit users aged 18 to 34 between 16 and 19 October.

The Farlam Commission is currently underway in Rustenburg to establish what led to police opening fire on striking Lonmin platinum mine workers, killing 34 of them and wounding 78 on 16 August.

Before the shooting, 10 people - including two policemen and two security guards - had died in events associated with the strike.

Two drivers were killed in their vehicles in a recent strike by truck drivers.

- SAPA
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