South Africans have always been concerned about working conditions due to the historical events that happened in the past. Equity amongst workers has led to several issues and brought up to conflict. For that instance, workers have always come up with a reaction to express their dissatisfaction regarding their working conditions issues, or wage increases, unfavourable work service and benefits that they hardly receive. Consequently, the workers then found an alternative to show their dissatisfaction which is strike. Strike can result in loss of productivity, angry customers, financial losses, injury, and damage to property as well as a soured employee-employers relation. It usually occurs when employers do not take into consideration employees concerns and demands, when they do not react to the issues that the labour force is facing. Even though employees are allowed to strike, there are procedures in place that protect them from not losing their job within an organisation. And if they are not followed, the employers have the right to dismiss these employees according to the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995. On January 20th of 2012, 5000 mine workers of Impala Platinum, embarked in an unprotected strike, demanding increases in wages, benefits, and improvement of work service. The strike was not protected because the procedure was not followed and therefore it was illegal and gave to the employer the right to dismiss them. Regardless, the strikers were damaging property, were highly violent and three workers lost their lives as a result of the strike. This attitude led them to an automatically fair dismissal according to the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995. Regardless, the workers are still demanding to be reemployed. Thus, the employers accepted to reinstate the workers, on condition that they are reinstated under new contracts. This then led the workers to a refusal as they feel that they will lose their certain benefits. In brief this article brought to the writers’ attention discuss the different aspects of the long strike that occurred at the Impala Platinum Mine, located in the North West whereby employees refuse to return to their functions under new contracts. Therefore, the writers will be analysing all the facets of the strike, the different role players and their backgrounds, the reasons of the strike, and its consequences. In addition, the procedure for a protected strike will be examined. The article will then be weighed against another similar article in order to conclude.
2. Role players of the strike
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is known as a recognised trade union in South Africa. It is composed of 300,000 members and it is seen as the largest affiliate of the Congress of South African Trade Unions. It was created in 1982 and gained growth quickly by winning recognition from the Chamber of Mines in 1983. NUN campaigned effectively in the 1980s for the “end of the job reservation system”, a system which makes sure that the best-paid jobs were offered to Whites. NUM is also known internationally as it is part of the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions. The history of the national union of mine workers (NUM) is embedded in the inherent contradictions that exist between capital and labour. If workers act as individuals they are too weak for capital .For this reason the need for trade unions, whereby workers become a collective power that can be measured .these class contradiction s force the workers to appreciate working class solidarity and action .the formation of the (NUM) was informed by the same imperatives that of mine workers and energy workers solidarity and action .mining ushered in industrialisation in south Africa .the cruelty of investment has manifested itself in the mining industry as it continues to do so today. Therefore a strong mining and energy union was and to continue to be critical to deal with...
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