‘Outlaw dangerous strikes’

2010-08-14 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Strikes that turn nasty should lose their protected status because industrial action in South Africa is becoming increasingly violent, said John Brand, one of the country’s most respected labour practitioners.

At a labour law conference in Sandton on Thursday Brand suggested that legislation be amended so that strikes lose their protected legal status when they become exceptionally violent.

This would mean employers could take disciplinary steps against strikers.

South African strikes have, unlike in the rest of the world, become especially violent with the police standing by doing absolutely nothing, he said.

Brand referred to the recent Trans­net strike, in which railway trucks had been set alight.

Employers are generally able to continue production because replacement labour is so available due to joblessness, while the biggest expense during strikes is employing private armed forces for security, he pointed out.

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