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Unlawful strikes pose such a threat to SA business that some employers, especially those vulnerable to work stoppages, have devised a bonus system to encourage workers not to join in. Among them, the SA Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors (Safcec) and the Constructional Engineering Association of SA have a deal with the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and other unions. The "project labour agreement", finalised in 2010, commits both sides to using fair and proper channels and practices to resolve differences. Though it deals with a range of issues, its "project bonus" for workers is particularly significant. The bonus is equal to 15 hours of wages for every completed month worked on a project, and it is paid "upon demobilisation", or when the employee’s services on a project are terminated. However, no bonus is payable if an employee is dismissed, resigns or absconds. But what about workers who engage in an unprotected strike during the life of a project? Would they l...

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