n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Workplace violence : a criminological analysis of a violence labour strike in South Africa

Volume 20, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



Work-related violence against employees is a common occurrence in South Africa. However, the phenomenon of workplace violence remains largely under-researched. Without proper scientific knowledge of workplace violence, therefore, violence against employees cannot be properly controlled. An analysis of newspaper articles on violence that accompany labour strikes reveals that the 2006 labour strike by security guard members of the South Africa Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU), replicated the form and nature of three previous strikes - also by members of SATAWU. Physical and nonphysical violence against non-striking workers was perpetrated with impunity. Employers and employees in other workplaces became victims of striking workers when the violence spilled over into their workplaces. Whereas the existing research on workplace violence indicates that non-physical or verbal violence is the most common type of workplace violence, the finding of the current research indicates more incidents of physical violence than non-physical ones. Again, whereas existing research results are based on work-related violence that is perpetrated on the grounds of the workplace, this research shows that issues that emanate from the workplace are also related to violence that is perpetrated against employees away from the workplace. As such, violence of this nature cannot be excluded from the broad spectrum of workplace violence.

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