Strike nation – Free Market Foundation unswayed on unions

2012-10-06 14:20

The spate of violent wildcat strikes mostly led by workers unaffiliated to trade unions has not changed the minds of the Free Market Foundation’s view that unions have a negative bearing on industrial peace.

The foundation is preparing a court action where, among other things, it seeks to have the laws on minimum wages set aside and to allow for workers to have the right to accept wages lower than the minimum set.

The foundation has repeatedly accused unions and employer associations of being a cartel seeking to shut out the unemployed and the smaller businesses.

An opposite view in the labour market is that unions bring stability and certainty for employers who know who to enter agreements with or negotiate with when other workplace matters arise.

The latest round of wildcat strikes demanding better working conditions than those agreed to by the employers and the unions have been noted as a sign of what might happen in non-unionised sectors.

The foundation’s leader and chief strategist at Investment Solutions, Chris Hart, said the violent strikes were as a result of “anti-competitive practices” between Cosatu and smaller rival unions.

He said though the labour federation was not responsible for many of the wildcat strikes, this did not change the reality that the federation had its proven record of violence.

“Cosatu created the mayhem so they could appear as the reasonable ones. The truck drivers’ strike is a violent strike, the security guards’ strike was violent.

“Cosatu has proven itself to be a violent union federation,” said Hart.

Cosatu and the National Union of Mineworkers have consistently argued that wage agreements entered into with unrecognised worker bodies undermined central bargaining and were unsustainable.

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