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Thread: Government setting a dangerous precedent with strike?

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Question Government setting a dangerous precedent with strike?

    Is government about to set a precedent with this strike that could cause even more pain later?

    For a little background as to where I'm about to come from, let's consider this extract.

    Cosatu: Strikers not getting tired
    There is no sign that public servants are getting tired as their pay strike enters its third week, Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Monday.

    "The strike continues ... there is no sign that workers are getting tired; instead they are more angry," he told a Cosatu conference in Boksburg.

    Vavi said the industrial action would only end once a deal beneficial to workers had been struck.

    "We want the strike to end as soon as possible. We want it to end in terms that would be more beneficial to workers," Vavi said. "The strike continues as long as that has not happened."

    Vavi said he never expected the strike to reach 16 days.

    He said he thought the strike would only last for two days before government came up with a resolution.
    full story from M&G here
    This strike has gone on for quite a while. It has been marked by a callous disregard by labour for human life, health and well-being, the LRA, the rights of workers who want to work and a number of other individual rights. It has shut down schools that could have carried on teaching by means most foul, including private schools who have no members of staff on government payroll. It has seen people driven away by strikers from hospitals that might have been able to help them otherwise in their moment of most dire need.

    Government made a stand at one point by dismissing unprotected workers. And has talked up a tough storm.

    I suspect that many of us have some sympathy with labour on the percentage of the increase. It is a tough issue - there needs to be balance - but government can't ignore that the real cost of living has increased far more than their chosen indicator, CPIX. Government cannot continue to bury its head in the sand on this.

    But now it isn't just pay on the table. Perhaps unsurprisingly we also have reinstatement of the dismissed workers and paying the strikers for their time whilst out on strike. And these are the very things that ordinarily bring pressure to bear on the parties to act responsibly in terms of the LRA - some semblance of balance between labour and business.

    Does government have the resolve to stand by its own labour framework?
    And if not, what are the consequences for future wage negotiations if government caves on these points?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
    A court application for the reinstatement of health workers dismissed during the public-service strike sought to punish a government that was trying to restore order, the state argued in the Cape High Court on Thursday.

    "We have been berated for taking action in a chaotic situation," said an advocate for the Western Cape government, Dumisa Ntsebeza.

    Last week the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and five Khayelitsha residents lodged an urgent application to reverse the dismissal of 41 striking Western Cape health workers because they said it was compromising patients' constitutional rights to healthcare.
    full story from M&G here
    Just what were these strikers doing again? Is it gov or the strikers that have compromised patients' constitutional rights?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Email problem stephanfx's Avatar
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    I am with you on this one Dave, it is earth-shattering, the logic they are using....

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    Silver Member Eugene's Avatar
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    Agree with you guys! I'm all for the constitution and equal rights to all, but it seems that this has done to far. Now the strike is 10% about the wage increase and 90% over the dismissed workers. Figures.... rebels without a clue...

    The day when the strike started, I glanced out of my office window and noticed that all rubbish bins were turned over and a couple of cars vandalised. All is fair in love and war, but I mean, trashing the place while being on a "peacful strike" just don't add up. And the poor municipal wokers who went back to work a couple of days after (after being part of the strike) had to bear the consequences of their meaningless actions by cleaning up the rubbish. Now I just wonder, what about my constitutional right of a clean environment? What would the municipality do if I pro rata reduce my rates and taxes while having to endure this mess?

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    Silver Member Eugene's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
    Laugh, and the whole world laughs with you....
    Cry, and.....
    ... you have to blow your nose.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eugene View Post
    Now the strike is 10% about the wage increase and 90% over the dismissed workers.
    That's probably the real story behind this court application too!

    Given that the application is to reinstate the dismissed workers (as opposed to simply demanding provision of services) the motive seems somewhat transparent.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    And now government has tabled another final offer on Friday, and labour has 21 days to consider it. Talks are suspended until the end of the 21 day period.

    If the workers are going to be paid for their time out on strike, what are the prospects of labour taking the full 21 days?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    On Sunday night, the Health and Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa (Hospersa) hit out at Cosatu-affiliated unions, saying they were being held "hostage", Business Day reported on Monday. Hospersa president Gavin Moultrie said Sadtu was "intimidating" other unions and preventing them from signing the government's wage offer.

    He said Hospersa had already suspended its strike action on Wednesday and described the government's latest offer as "fantastic".

    Full story on M&G Online
    Disturbing to say the least. What do you think the intimidation tactics would be?
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsd View Post
    What do you think the intimidation tactics would be?
    I don't know how much footage of strikers protesting you might have seen, but those guys in the red shirts trying to hide their knobkerries from the cameras aren't there to look beautiful.

    A story that came to me last week was a school up the North Coast which had tried to keep going. A few bakkies rolled up, broke down the gates, and unloaded about 50 "teachers" who promptly went on the rampage - intimidating and harassing teachers and scholars. The school caters for Grades 1-7, and the concerned father was telling me just how traumatised his two daughters were by the experience.

    There are also more subtle ways to lean on smaller unions. There are a number of areas where unions have multi party representation - such as with SETAs. Labour has to sort out their representation unimpeded (as does business BTW), and there is no requirement that it needs to be proportional. In similar fashion there might be rules as to the minimum representation needed to be part of a bargaining council - but just how many seats you get might not be prescribed in the rules. Then there's the appointment of pension fund trustees.

    Then there's aggressive canvassing for members off your membership base...
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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