Strike Hits South Africa

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

In the largest labor action since apartheid ended, hundreds of thousands of public workers held a one-day strike on Aug. 24.

The action was a sharp rebuke to the newly elected African National Congress (ANC) government of Thabo Mbeki.

Twelve unions-representing over 800,000 workers-took part. They included affiliates of the Congress of South African Trade Unions-a traditional ANC ally-as well as the Federation of Unions of South Africa, which organizes many white workers.

“This is a new South African labor movement in the making,” said COSATU Gen. Secretary Zwelizima Vavi.

The workers are demanding a minimum 7.3 percent wage increase. But the ANC government, in a violation of labor law, implemented a 6.3 percent increase on its own, after bargaining had broken down.

Related Articles

Amazon Workers Electrify Labor

By MARTY GOODMAN
Workers in the U.S. may be on the cusp of a big labor upsurge. In 2021, petitions to hold union elections were up more than 50 percent over the previous year during the six months ending in March, on pace to reach its highest point in at least a decade. Successful organizing struggles at Amazon, Starbucks and other locations continue to grow. Angry younger workers in particular are stepping up to play militant leadership roles, many with Black Lives Matter protest experience.

NY Cabbie Hunger Strike Wins Big!

By MARTY GOODMAN
On Nov. 3, hunger striker and taxi worker leader, Bahravi Desai, shouted out to an exuberant crowd of taxi workers and supporters, “We won! We won!” as a deal was struck with the city to reduce loans on the artificially inflated cost of city-issued taxi medallions.