On the Shopfloor: Strikes, stayaways and marches

In My Opinion

The right to strike is included in the Labour Relations Act (LRA). Every worker enjoys this freedom. But do we exercise it correctly?

Strikes, stayaways and marches are the workers only weapons acquired from the end of the world to where we are today as toilers of the earth. Gone are the days of wildcat strikes when workers would down tools over a fight between black and white. We all know strikes are the last resort.

The recent Cosatu stayaway on June 27 was over job losses. Too many jobs had gone down the drain. Something had to be done about this. We could not fold our arms and pray for godly miracles to descend from the heavens in a ball of fire or cloud of smoke to free us from the horrendous acts perpetrated by capitalism.

Cosatu also endorsed the most recent strikes by Num, Saccawu and Samwu. They were a legitimate war against poverty wages and unemployment. Here was a clear sign that the capitalist class had failed to address even the most basic needs of workers.

But was it necessary for Samwu marchers to empty waste out of the dirt bins and scatter these across the streets of Johannesburg?

NO! Workers must be clear on their objectives. Uncontrollable anger results in unguided militancy. Violence breeds violence which results in murder and clashes with the police.

We don’t need violence. We know where we come from with state violence. We call for discipline and for every Cosatu affiliate to conscientise its membership.