We identified strikes as a primary issue because of the unintended consequences for employee benefits coverage they can unleash. When members can’t pay contributions towards approved and unapproved group risk benefits, or medical aid, these safety nets can vanish when workers need them the most. Similarly, when employees are dismissed during the heat of negotiations, members may withdraw their retirement savings to cover their lost income.
This all suggests that business and labour need to ensure that retirement fund rules are structured to anticipate these potential problems and identify, in advance, how they will be dealt with and under what conditions.
Strikes have plagued certain industries, such as the public sector and the mining sector, and it is likely that they will remain a concern going forward. A proper assessment of the long-term impact of strikes is needed to understand the implications for employees, institutions and the economy.