The past week saw labour unrest continuing in various sectors in South Africa with the potential for instability in the labour market increasing which eventually affects the crime potential.
- The seasonal farm workers strike in the Western Cape continued with high levels of violence and threats of “taking it to the streets of Cape Town” in the coming week. Interestingly farmers have not openly or “desperately” complained about affects on existing farming activities but it can be expected to have an influence in the latter half of February with grape harvesting although temporarily less people might be employed but could achieve more productive results.
- The illegal strike by bus workers in Tshwane ended on 15 January 2013.
- The legal strike by Dairy Belle workers in Bloemhof in North West Province is continuing.
- The announcement by Amplats relating to the layoff of 14 000 workers in their Rustenburg operations caused major tension involving the ANC, government and organised labour all lashing out at Amplats with the ridiculous “calls for the nationalising” of the Amplats mines by the AMCU (union emerging in the platinum industry).
- Harmony Gold is still keeping their Kusasalethu Mine shut until agreements could be reached with organised labour in a peaceful way forward which could eventually see some 6 000 people being retrenched. Tension in Rustenburg and Carletonville is high as well as at other mines who already threatened with restructuring at the end of 2012. They could announce their plans soon which could add to the tension and instability.
- A strike by employees from SAA which was initially averted, started on Friday 18 January 2013 due to the SAA Board and Executive Committee being divided on the matter whether a union who has 1 300 members out of a workforce of 11 000 should be recognised after all.
- On 16 January 2013 construction stopped on the Medupi power plant in Limpopo. Contract workers from Hitachi and Alstom, companies sub-contracted by Eskom, went on strike as workers demanded December bonuses.
- On 16 January the Gauteng Department of Health took a decision to close down the Chris Hani Baragwanath Nursing College indefinitely following a week-long illegal protest and class disruptions. Student nurses were expected to vacate the college premises on 16 January 2013. This follows their demand that three Heads of Department (HODs) should be removed from the college. The students have also defied a court interdict compelling them to stop the protest and return to classes.
- On 17 January 2013 a group of approximately 240 dissident security officers took to the streets of Pretoria to hand over a memorandum with demands to the Dept of Labour. The group was not represented by a union. This follows various demands and a previous attempt to launch a march on 14 December 2012 when the turnout was more than 500 people. A minimum wage of R7 500 is demanded. It is not known what the content of the memorandum and specific demands were but it is believed (from unconfirmed sources) that they threatened that they could embark on strike action if they don’t get feedback from Government. It seems as though some of the 240 attendees were there through intimidation.