We start tonight, in South Africa, where a second big strike has hit country soon after AMCU’s devastating 5-month long strike. 200,000 members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa went on strike on July 1st, demanding better pay. CCTV’s Guy Henderson reports from Johannesburg.
If the strikers get their way this time, they’ll be back for more next year. Industrial action is very much part of working life here. But the labor environment has undoubtedly polarized of late.
Members marched to the offices of an employers’ body that’s locked out all staff from the workplace, even those from unions not taking part.
Union bosses are so far pretty uncompromising as well. If you thought the platinum strike was big – this one dwarfs it by numbers. NUMSA has 300,000 members, more than 200,000 of which are marching in towns and cities across South Africa. And this happens at a time when its leaders have particular reason to dig their heels in.
Officially part of the ruling alliance – but before elections in May, this union refused to campaign for the African National Congress.
The rift is wide and there’s talk of a split. So this may well be a statement about power and influence.