In a recent study conducted by consumer insights company Pondering Panda, it was found that young South Africans supported strike action by bus, taxi and train drivers. 2146 respondents, between the ages of 18 and 34, were interviewed across South Africa, and asked to give their opinion regarding whether public transport workers should be allowed to strike. The survey found that the majority of respondents supported strike action, with 3 in 4 (75%) feeling it was the right of bus drivers to go on strike, 68% feeling the same about train drivers, and 63% supporting the right of taxi drivers to strike. In contrast, less than a third of respondents across each of these groups felt it should be illegal for public transport workers to go on strike.
Support for striking bus drivers differed according to racial group. Young black and coloured South Africans were the most supportive of strike action, with nearly 4 in 5 blacks (79%) and 77% of coloureds feeling that it was the right of bus drivers to go on strike. In comparison, 64% of Indians and 40% of whites held the same view. Whites were the only racial group more likely to believe strike action on the part of bus drivers should be illegal, with 46% feeling this way. Opinion on this question was otherwise consistent across age and gender groups.
When asked what, if anything, should happen to public transport workers, should they choose to go on strike, respondents believed that strike action should not be punished in any way. 59% said there should be no consequences for strike action, as it was the right of workers to strike. In comparison, 24% felt they should not be paid while on strike, and 12% felt that they should be punished, but in another way. Only 2% of respondents advocated the arrest of striking transport workers.
Shirley Wakefield, spokesperson for Pondering Panda said, “It’s clear that young South Africans overwhelmingly support strike action on the part of bus drivers and other public transport workers. These numbers show that young South Africans feel a sense of solidarity – and sympathy – with striking drivers. This is surprising in a way, as many young people use public transport every day. However, as strikes continue to affect the daily lives of all South Africans, it remains to be seen whether this level support will continue.”
All interviews were carried out on cellphones between the 24th and the 29th of April, across South Africa. Responses were weighted to be nationally representative in terms of age, gender and race.