South Africa's Labor Movement Threatens Unstable Economy

The typically thriving African nation is experiencing an economic downfall as scores of workers go on strike.

Posted: 08/26/2013 12:15 PM EDT

Tens of thousands of South African airport and construction workers went on strike on Monday to call for higher wages, crippling Africa’s biggest economy.

The blow to South Africa’s industrial output came amid a recent week-long strike held by 30,000 auto workers and pressures made by gold miners threatening to do the same.

The rand fell last week to a four-year low, losing 17 percent of its value against the dollar this year, as a result of the disrupted output and looming strike chaos.

Johannesburg’s main international airport has already experienced some delays, while the strike by employees of car manufacturers—a sector that accounts for six percent of the country's annual income—is costing the nation an estimated $60 million per day, according to BBC News.

Last year, 34 platinum miners were shot dead by police in a single day, known as the Marikana massacre, after protests turned violent.

The AFP reported that two people in a Johannesburg suburb had been stabbed in an incident related to the construction strike, according to a local news agency.

The government has appealed for no violence during the strike, calling on those involved to execute it “non-violently” and “engage in meaningful dialogue.”

“Government and the citizens of the country are urged to work together in a peaceful and stable manner to address the underlying challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality,” said a statement.

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(Photo: Nadine Hutton/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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