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Strikes are an exercise of workers’ power and also a strategy that workers use to demand better living and working conditions. Mfundo Mpushe talked to engineering sector workers in Uitenhage and Port Elizabeth during the recent National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) strike which was settled with a 10% increase for the next three years among other concessions.
Striking workers always defend their turf against strike breakers and those who go to work during industrial actions often face violence. Crispen Chinguno traces how this violence has been a feature of South African labour relations. But violence is not only worker violence. There is state violence by the police, employer violence, and
even violence within and between unions.