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Cosatu: strikes don't hurt economic growth

Stats SA says strikes in the third quarter added to contraction in the manufacturing sector.

FILE: Cosatu has denied claims strikes are impeding the country’s economic growth. Picture: Sapa.

CAPE TOWN - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has denied claims strikes are impeding the country's economic growth.

Figures released on Tuesday by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) show strikes in the third quarter of the year contributed to a more than six percent contraction in the manufacturing sector.

Gross domestic product (GDP) also only expanded by 0.7 percent.

The trade union federation's Patrick Craven says, "The allegation that this bad figure is all because of the strikes in the unions is just somebody's opinion. I have yet to see any evidence for that. It's not only wrong, but I think it's a way of avoiding the deeper structural problems of our economy."

Meanwhile, Nedbank chief economist Dennis Dykes says there needs to be more co-operation to make the economy more competitive in the long run.

"I think the difficulty is that the unions are not only fighting for their members, but are also trying to close wage gaps. But while those are laudable objectives, unfortunately it can have very negatives impacts on current growth."