National Union of Mineworkers members attend a meeting in Pretoria. Picture: SOWETAN
National Union of Mineworkers members attend a meeting in Pretoria. Picture: SOWETAN

The trade unions in SA appear to have lost the plot.  At times their actions are completely counterproductive and senseless.

For example, when threatened with job losses their response invariably is to threaten to shut the company (or even the country) down, thereby risking the loss of 100% of the jobs instead of say 10%.

In the case of Eskom, they claimed they were not responsible for the losses or state capture, so why should they pay? The problem with Eskom is that it is a national disaster (entirely of the ANC's making) that requires all of us to pay. One could argue that some of the unions share the blame for the problem, having supported the ANC and the tripartite alliance.

Applying this logic, the unions also helped facilitate state capture, so should in fact pay. They don’t want independent power producers to gain ground because these reduce the demand for coal and will affect jobs. No cognisance is given to the jobs the independent power producers will create. 

Likewise, they are against the sugar tax because this will reduce the number of farm labourers. Next they will be trying to stop the fourth industrial revolution, artificial intelligence and robotics.

The unions always demand higher wages, but this is shortsighted. The higher the wage the more susceptible they become to being replaced, so any benefit is brief. Those who still have a job benefit, but tough luck to those who are laid off.

The unions show a complete disregard for the future of the country. They are more interested in  benefiting their members than in helping the unemployed get jobs, or having a strong economy. 

John Harwood
Via e-mail