The number of strikes in SA is increasing — and most now fall foul of the Labour Relations Act (LRA)‚ highlighting a challenge for government departments‚ mediator forums‚ trade unions and employers.
The Labour Department’s latest report on strikes in SA was released on Wednesday. The report found that 55% of strikes in 2015 were unprotected — meaning they did not comply with the Labour Relations Act — compared with 48% in 2014.
The report assesses how key indicators perform in line with various shocks to the South African economy over 10 years.
Between 2005 and 2015 there were an annual average of 85 strike incidents‚ 5.2-million working days lost and 335‚000 workers involved a year‚ the report said.
The lowest number of working days lost was recorded in 2008, with 497‚436 days. In 2015‚ 903‚921 working days were lost.
Between 2013 and 2015 the mining industry had lost more working days than other industries, while the finances and utilities sectors had the lowest number of strikes between during that period.
By province‚ Gauteng had more work stoppages than other provinces between 2013 and 2015. The Labour Department said this was probably because its economy was the largest provincial economy.
Disputes over wages‚ bonuses and other compensation matters remained the main cause of strikes in SA.
The analysis shows that in most cases wage settlements were lower than the initial wage demands by unions.