AFRICANGLOBE – Thousands of South African workers in the construction, airport technical industries and automobile sectors downed their tools Monday.
Hundreds of technical staffers working for South African Airways also went on strike.
The workers affiliated to the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) are demanding a 12 percent wage increase.
Satawu spokesman Vincent Masoga said the strike would carry on indefinitely, as the union was not prepared to accept anything less.
SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali said as far “as he knew numerous flights had taken off and landed at the airport”.
Tlali declined to comment on the wage negotiations but maintained that it was a transparent process between the unions and the employer.
He said SAA would make an offer “that would be sustainable” for the airline.
Meanwhile, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in the construction sector also downed tools.
NUM is demanding a 13 percent wage increase for their members.
Spokesman, Lesiba Seshoka said about 90,000 members did not report for work after negotiations with employers reached an impasse.
He said because of the impasse members resorted to an indefinite nationwide strike.
“We want a 13 percent wage increase for this year and a 14 percent increase for 2014, but the employer offered way below that,” Seshoka said.
Economists have warned that the consequences of the wave of strike action would be dire on the economy.
Thirty thousand automobile workers aligned to the National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) have been on strike since last week.
Economists estimate that the industry will lose more than 700 million per day and the loss of production of about 3000 cars per day.
By: Crystal van Vyk