30 June 2007

The True Cost of the Strike

So the strike is over.

The Trade Unions, under the erstwhile leadership of Cosatu, managed to gain salary increases of 7.5% -- up 1.5 points from the 6% the government originally offered.

Let's assume you earned R10000/month before the strike. (I'm going to neglect all the taxes and additional "benefits" that might go with the package.  "Benefits" don't put extra cash in your pocket!)  Originally your increase would have brought your salary to R10600/month; after a month on strike, you're going to get R10750/month.  Yay!  You're R150/month better off from the strike.

Now: a month on strike has cost you R10000, since, as far as I know, "No Work, No Pay" applies.

It's going to take you 66.66 months to make back the cost of the strike.  Five years, 8 months to get back the money you have already spent on striking!

Of course the strike wasn't really about anything else, now was it.  Nothing at all to do with a bit power-arm-wrestling within the tripartite alliance.  Strictly about the money.

Let me state for the record that, along with most reasonable South Africans, I strongly support teachers, nurses and police getting paid better, especially in light of the shoddy deal they have been dealt over the past several years.  They really deserve to have their salaries at least keep pace with the official inflation rate, and the government's offers of 6%, and now 7.5% are an insult.

But Cosatu's leadership have now blatantly tipped their hand, and shown us all whose interests they really have at heart!  I think they've lost some serious cred from this farce-of-a-strike.

No comments: