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Last Updated:[27-05-2010 05:22:05 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Strike Paralyses SA with More in Store Ahead of World Cup

tradenews South Africa (SA) continues to reel under the 'strike' bogey with transport strike nearing end while others surfacing. A likely strike by half of the workers at state-owned power utility Eskom and another by civil servants, including nurses, police and teachers, is looming large at SA, the first African country to host the soccer World Cup.

SA's present crisis besides damaging trade with Europe and Asia, it also corroborates the criticism by some European countries in regards to the preparedness of the country to host such a mega event like the World Cup come June and July. The SA Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tina Joemat-Pettersson told reporters losses to the industries under her ministry are estimated over 1bn rand ($127mn).

The strike, well over a fortnight has already brought the exim trade of the country to a standstill inflicting potential losses to the job market and international trade contracts. Items like metals, cars, fruits and wine to Europe and Asia, as well as imports of automotive parts and fuel supplies is reported to have affected. FIFA, the football governing body has informed imports of some equipment for the event has also been impacted.

Though it was predicted before the strike the coal and iron ore exports and fuel supplies could be stalled, stocks and supply process as so far avoided such a situation. Likewise, the domestic power supplies also have not been affected much by the strike since coal for the power plants is largely supplied through conveyor belts directly from the mines.

The workers of the SA logistics group Transnet which has about 54000 trade union members began strike demanding 15 percent pay hike despite the group conceding 11 percent. Although over 60 percent have returned to work since Monday, the smaller South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) has decided to go ahead with its demand.

By Jose Roy

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