Violent strikes hurt the economy and must be stopped

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The recent violent strikes in Pretoria and Cape Town have seriously affected economic activities and services in the provinces at a time when the economy cannot afford it.

It’s time for action to stop violent and lawless strikes that cripple the economy, says Thys van Zyl, head of product development at Everest Wealth.

“Violent and protracted strikes have a devastating effect on the economy due to the large-scale intimidation, violence, looting and damage to property that often accompanies them. Strikes often also lead to high levels of absenteeism in workplaces which have far-reaching consequences for employers as well as employees.”

Strikes often also cause major disruptions for members of the public with services not being delivered and business not being able to continue as normal. The lawlessness with which strikes are often accompanied also poses a security threat to members of the public.

“Violent strikes cause great harm to the country as they further hamper economic growth and damage investor confidence. Strikes also often result in layoffs as companies suffer production and financial losses. Strikes can further cause disruptions to supply chains and overall productivity and consumer confidence is adversely affected.”

The lack of proper law enforcement and consequential action during violent strikes is also worrying. “Everyone has the right to strike, but no one has the right to endanger the life and well-being of others with violence and lawlessness. Strikes also often lead to more damage than would have been the case if there had not been a strike.”

Violent strikes have a devastating effect on investor confidence, at a time when South Africa must throw everything into the fight to regain investors’ confidence. “Incidents like this, however, undermine any progress that has been made, with businesses and tourism which also suffer great damage.”

It is time that preventive action should be taken to prevent strikes from leading to violence and lawlessness. “There is a perception that violence during strikes is an effective way to get the attention of those in charge and that it thus produces the best results. Serious consideration must be given to how the practice can be stopped as the country and economy can no longer afford it.”

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