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Strikes hits economic growth hard

Striking workers lost more than R6,5 billion in wages last year, up from just over R1 billion in 2011.

Lonmin miners take part in an illegal strike on 14 May 2013. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The number of strikes in South Africa hit a five-year high in 2012.

The Department of Labour's annual industrial action report shows strikes last year hit economic growth hard.

Most workers involved in strike action were employed in the mining sector.

Dissatisfaction with wage packages were the chief reasons workers embarked on the industrial action.

Most of the strikes took place in Gauteng.

The department's report on industrial action last year notes that the strikes were also accompanied by increased violence.

It said striking workers lost more than R6,5 billion in wages last year, up from just over R1 billion in 2011.

The department is looking at changing the law to try and curb strike violence, but said the social and economic conditions of workers must also be attended to.

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