The South African metal workers’ union Numsa held a day of action on Wednesday of last week against unemployment.
The focus was on youth unemployment as more than half of under 30s are unemployed.
Thousands marched across the country. The day is a shot across the bows of the ruling ANC in the run-up to national elections in May. Supporters of the new Economic Freedom Fighters party joined the marches in their thousands.
Protesters were opposing the Employment Tax Incentive Act, which is supposed to subsidise firms that take on young workers. Unions say it will just lead to the displacement of unsubsidised workers.
Numsa called on workers to strike as part of the protest.
It said that 500,000 people took part in protests across South Africa.
This is intended as the start of a series of days of action. Numsa leader Irwin Jim attacked the ANC leadership at a rally in Johannesburg, “Their role is to hold back the wheels of history.
“They have refused to nationalise the country’s resources. They must know that the working class are not fools.”