Strike action and limitations in labour law: a comparative analysis of South Africa and Zimbabwe

Nyamadzawo, Milton
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The right to strike is entrenched in the Constitutions of both South Africa (the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996,) and Zimbabwe (The Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe Act 20 of 2013 as amended). There has been some significant labour law reforms in Southern Africa particularly in Zimbabwe where the right to strike was constitutionally provided for in 2013. Despite the entrenchment of the right to strike in the Constitutions of South Africa and Zimbabwe, there are limitations to this right to strike. It is submitted that workers have rights to strike within the limits of the law but the reality on the ground gives a different picture. While this thesis subscribes to the right of workers to strike, it also argues that the rights of other parties are as important as the rights of the striking workers. In South Africa there is an entrenched culture of violence within industrial action in this constitutional dispensation era.1 In Zimbabwe strike action is severely restricted through various mechanisms like the Public order and Security Act (POSA) 2007.2 An application letter must be sent to the police so that they can grant clearance for the strike. The only notable strikes that were allowed with minimal police intervention was the National Railways of Zimbabwe strike where workers had not been paid their salaries for 15 months3 and that of the Grain Marketing Board where workers had not been paid for more than 24 months.4 There are significant similarities and disparities on how the Labour Relations Act South Africa and the Labour Act Zimbabwe regulate strike actions. It is also apparent that there are inadequacies in the two Acts and that will require some legislative reforms to remedy incidents of unprotected or unlawful strike action.
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management of the University of the Witwatersrand, in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree Master of Laws in Labour Law, 2018
Nyamadzawo, Milton (2018) Strike action and its limitations in labour law :a comparative analysis of South Africa and Zimbabwe, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, <>