Violent strikes ‘the only way to make bosses listen’ – youth

2012-10-23 14:52

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 the 2 888 MXit users surveyed subscribed to this view, researchers said today.

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 while 6% were undecided.

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 with 22% of blacks, 34% of coloureds and 35% of Indians.
Opinions also differed by gender.

Just over 50% 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.

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 October 16 and 19.

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

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.

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