Strikes cost South Africa R6 billion in 2014

Many have surely heard of "strike season" – that dreaded time of year when wage negotiations take place. But how many of us know the damaging economic impact thereof?

A recent report published by the Department of Labour has revealed that strikes cost South Africa as much as R6 billion in wages during 2014. The manufacturing and mining sectors, which account for 14% and 7% of GDP respectively, were hardest hit by strike actions.

In its annual report on strikes in South Africa, the continent's most advanced economy, the department found they cost the country 9% less last year than the R6.7 billion recorded in 2013. The number of strikes had furthermore decreased from 114 recorded in 2013 to 88 recorded last year. The report also found that most of the strike actions revolved around wages, bonuses and other compensation disputes. In many of the industries, wage settlements were lower than initial demands.

The Department of Labour said in a statement:

"By industry, most strikes in 2014 occurred in the community, social and personal services industry. Followed by manufacturing industry. Few strikes were recorded in finance and utilities industries."

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