New wave of strikes to start this week
A new wave of strikes will hit South Africa this week when around 200,000 members of the Municipal Workers Union go out on strike to protest official corruption and poor pay.
The municipal workers are one of a long string of workers who have ground the country almost to a standstill in recent weeks. The problem started at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana several months ago when miners went out on strike and a number were killed in clashes with the police. That strike was eventually resolved when the miners secured a 22% pay rise.
The size of the pay rise for Lonmin workers then sparked off strikes in other mines and an estimated 80,000 miners are currently on strike.
More workers are expected to go on strike after 20,000 truck drivers ended a three week strike last Friday which had closed down petrol stations; the truck drivers are said to have secured a large pay increase over three years.
The continued unrest in the country led to Standard and Poor’s rating agency to cut South Africa’s sovereign debt rating from BBB+ to BBB last Friday.