A LOT of labour consultants are saying that the term, "strike season", is not entirely true, in that a lot of wage agreements are for three years, but in reality they don't all fall due for each industry in the same year. So the impression is given that from June to September, we have a "strike season".
What I can never understand is the simply ludicrous opening demands by unions each year accompanied by the all too familiar, "we will not return to work unless all our demands are met". Most of the time their demands are not all met, but they return to the job eventually, so why do we have to always have the same repetitive rhetoric?
There are many more wage and salary earners in this country who do not belong to unions, who each year don't "demand", don't strike and accept their increase, usually a percentage or two around the inflation mark. They then get on with their jobs and at the same time making the necessary adjustments to their quality of life to cope with another drop in the value of their pay packet.
Always in the back of one's mind is the huge mass of unemployed in this country who are eager to find work, and this is something that the unions and their members are seemingly not wishing to consider in their negotiations. Theirs is an arrogance borne of yearly getting large above inflation increases through bullying and violence.
Why can we not find a Margaret Thatcher in this country among our big companies who will simply say, "Here and no further. We will take this no more and are prepared to sit it out."
Of course there will be violence. That goes without saying in this violent country of ours, but we cannot go through this every year until one of our major industries decides to move operations to either India or Brazil.
We must be thankful that we seemingly have very patient investors right now, but things can change and we will all be the poorer for it.
Malcolm Dodds, Port Elizabeth