Strikes in South Africa are becoming more and more common and this affects not only the local economy but, businesses and employees alike. Employment relationships between both parties could become strained and this could affect teamwork and profitability. Businesses suffer production and financial losses and consumer confidence is adversely affected.


Whether a strike is legal or Illegal, the business is affected and it is imperative for employers to know their rights and to keep up to date with current labour laws and legislation. Some businesses may opt to hire workers to replace the striking employees and perhaps increase shifts if the strike continues for a long period of time. It is very important that part time/temporary workers have a contract by law. The employer does not have to remunerate striking workers for days not worked. If the strike is illegal this could constitute as a fair dismissal.


Striking Employees that belong to a union are under obligation to strike when the union determines. They could be at risk of losing not only wages but benefits such as medical aid insurance, sick and holiday pay if the strike drags on for an extended period of time. If an employee is a union member and does not want to partake in the strike, he/she could be at risk of intimidated by members of the union. Members belonging to a union in a legal strike are generally protected from dismissal.


The effects of striking will be felt in the immediate and long term future as strikes are appearing to re-occur in some sectors and in some cases have become violent. The South African economy is vulnerable at this point in time and striking season could harm the country’s investment reputation internationally. Economists agree that the affect of strikes on the economy are difficult to calculate but, is detrimental to the country and its workers. GDP growth will be affected and the consequences of higher wages in certain sectors would inevitably lead to higher inflation.

Strikes are firmly set in the current South Africa and it will be interesting to see if they will remain an integral part in the country’s future.