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Wage negotiation processes and strike action in the hospitality industry in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

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When employers and trade unions fail to reach and sign an agreement during the wage negotiation processes, disputes are lodged which may lead to strike actions. The strike incident affects both the employees who participate in the strikes due to a “no work, no pay” principle and the companies which loose production and revenue. The hospitality industry’s bargaining forums in KwaZulu-Natal provides a platform for the parties to negotiate salaries and other employment conditions to improve living standards and making more profits. The main objective of the study is to investigate the challenges faced by negotiators during the wage negotiation processes leading to a strike action in the hospitality industry in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. This study is exploratory and descriptive in nature and adopted a mixed method approach. The mixed method consisted of quantitative analysis that focused on Likert scale using the programme Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) to quantify data. Further, a qualitative analysis of data was conducted on the open-ended questions. The researcher analysed the data by discussing the perspectives and views of the participants that were obtained through on the open-ended questions. Questionnaires were administered in order to collect data from an overall participant size of twenty, consisting of 15 Trade Union officials and 5 Managers. The findings of the study indicated that both the employers and trade union officials agree that there are collective agreements in the hospitality industry of KwaZulu-Natal, which provide dispute resolution processes. However, unreasonable high demands and low offer by parties create deadlocks in wage negotiations. Furthermore, there is lack of trust, failure to disclose the final demands and final offers. In addition, lack of financial transparency and poor leadership by the negotiators in the negotiation process are some of the reasons that result to employees opting for strike action. The study recommends that the relationship between managements and trade union officials is objective and training be conducted relating negotiation skills and strategies that can lead to wage settlements. The study further recommends that parties must negotiate in good faith and that the financial status and information be disclosed prior or during to wage negotiation process.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.