The Ministers of Transport, Labour and Police must take decisive action to stop the escalation of violent transport strikes.
With the announcement that no deal has been reached and the expected intensification of the strike this week, the potential for further violence can be anticipated and should be taken seriously.
We defend the right of workers to strike lawfully, as it is their democratic right. However, when strikes are characterised by the intimidation and injury of those who do want to work and vehicles that are stoned or set alight, there must be recognition that the process has gone awry.
A lack of decisive action by the relevant cabinet ministers will contribute to the escalation of strike violence.
In light of existing legislation and a Constitutional Court ruling against SATAWU earlier this year, it is incumbent upon unions to educate, properly marshal and control their members during protest action, marches or industrial strikes. Lack of action may lead to more injuries, violence and even deaths on our streets.
The Ministers of Transport, Labour and Police do, however, also have a role to play. They have tools at their disposal which must be utilised. The Ministers of Labour and Transport can use their leadership to get parties around the negotiating table. The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) or Nedlac negotiators can be called in to assist the process. The Minister of Police must ensure that appropriately trained public order policing units are deployed to strike hotspots.
The current lack of action has allowed the situation to deteriorate. Reports today indicate that the strikes may spread to the ports – which could have further dire consequences for the economy.
A DA government would immediately:
I will be writing to the relevant Ministers to request urgent intervention.