Why I support the strikers

2011-09-02 00:00

THERE are many reasons why I support the strikers, especially those who work in government departments and municipalities, etc.

I speak from experience, having been in the government service in one of the “lower” salary brackets for most of my life.

The main cause of the problem, in my humble opinion, is the huge gap, salary wise, bet­ween the workers and management.

The strikers are always blamed as being the bad guys, which is true to a degree because in a lot of ways they exacerbate their position. Most if not all of the strikers are in the lower income bracket, and are the ones in most need of decent salaries.

I do understand and sympathise with their anger but do think that violence is unnecessary. However, if things are not put straight between management and the lower-income earners, the strikes are going to become worse and more frequent in years to come. And I will stand behind them every time, if things remain the way they are.

What are the downfalls of the system the way it stands?

When the workers go on strike and demand an increase of say 10%, what people have to realise is that should they get it, all staff will be getting it.

Now, the strikers are blamed for crippling the economy but this is not the case, as I will show.

Let us do some calculations.

A worker on the bottom end of the salary scale might be earning R3 000 per month, whereas a worker in a management position could be earning up to R50 000 per month, and in some cases more.

The poor people at the bottom of the scale might be happy with getting a 10% increase but their increase is only R300 per month.

But the people at the top of the ladder are getting R5 000 per month. So why should they worry about the effects of the strike? They are at least seeing a decent change in their income.

I am quite sure that this is why those in control will talk percentage increase and not an amount in cash.

The poor workers, however, find themselves in a similar situation as they did before the strike, due to the fact that inflation goes up and they see their money being eaten up by increased food prices, increased electricity bills and increased water bills, etc.

So, they are back to square one.

It is not the striker who is crippling the country but those at the top of the ladder who are getting huge salaries. The striker generally just wants a better way of life.

Already the salary gap between the worker and management is huge and if the system does not change, the gap between those on the bread line and below and those who have wine with their dinner is only going to increase and things will only get worse.

I know, a lot of the time the problem is blamed on the poor white guy or apartheid, but in truth it must be blamed on those in charge, whether they run the country, big business or are just running their own small business. Skin colour has absolutely nothing to do with it.

There are two ways I can see to end the problem.

• Increases, if done by percentage, should be done on a sliding scale.

For example, the worker at the bottom of the ladder should be getting a 20% increase, while the person at the top gets five percent.

Let’s do some calculations. On R3 000 the worker will be getting an increase of R600 per month. On R50 000 the top person will be getting R2 500 per month.

As you can see, the difference between the two is still enormous and needs to be adjusted but it does illustrate how bad the situation is.

• There could be an increase “across the board” to all employees, which is equal.

For example a R500 increase to all staff, no matter what level they are employed in.

Now, do you really think management will go for this? Of course not.

I know a lot of people will disagree with what I have had to say but who really is in charge of our country (and I think this goes for a lot of other countries as well)? Who really holds the power? The unions. And the unions are there because the workers ask them to help.

If the workers were treated fairly they would have no need for unions and they would eventually collapse and fade away.

To my mind, if there were honesty and fairness in our country it would be in a far better position.

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