The government painted a grim picture on Tuesday of the country’s state of labour relations, with the number of strikes reaching a high in 2017. The annual strike analysis is drawn up from data collected by the Department of Labour from employers and trade unions after strikes and lockouts. There was, however, a silver lining, with the report indicating that the majority of the strikes were protected, meaning trade unions were beginning to abide by the law by seeking strike certificates before embarking on the action. The number of strikes rose 8% from 122 in 2016 to 132 in 2017 as employees struggled to keep up with inflation. Labour department director-general Thobile Lamati said the increase was the “highest recording in the history of our strike monitoring”. The number of working days lost increased by 1.5% to 960,889 from 946,323 in 2016. Disputes over wage demands, bonuses and other compensation benefits were listed as the main reasons behind the strikes. Not only was 2017 a r...

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