Trade federation union COSATU and all its Affiliated Unions will be embarking on a nationwide strike on Thursday. The strike is said to be protected, and a Section 77 strike certificate issued by Nedlac. This guarantees all participating workers’ protection.
This planned nationwide strike is in protest of the rising levels of unemployment, wage cuts, poverty, and inequality affecting the working class. It is in defense of workers’ rights to bargain and attempts by employers to undermine this constitutional right.
In a statement, Cosatu says it is a demonstration by workers that government needs to do more to end the current levels of load-shedding, cable theft, crime and corruption, wasteful expenditure, and austerity cuts crippling the state, suffocating the economy, and further plunging workers into high levels of indebtedness and misery.
“This is also a signal to the government, the Reserve Bank, and the commercial banks, that the working class can no longer afford to bear the burden of rising levels of inflation, electricity tariff hikes, and relentless and reckless increases in the repo rate.”
Union members are demanding that all employers pay workers a living wage if they are to survive and buy the goods that the economy produces.
The working class is bleeding from the government’s sluggish response to policy failures that are leading to cuts in real wages and a rise in unemployment with more than half the population struggling to make ends meet. – COSATU
The union demands action which will address the delipidating railway infrastructure, and collapse in municipalities, 36 of which routinely fail to pay their employees. Companies are closing in many rural towns as basic services deteriorate.
Cosatu offers solutions to demands
Cosatu has come up with a list of solutions to tackle the country’s crises. The union suggested that government immediately do the following:
- Raise the SRD Grant to the food poverty line in the October MTBPS.
- Extend the Presidential Employment Stimulus to accommodate 1 million active participants in October 2023 and 2 million in February 2024.
- Ensure the implementation of the 2 pot pension reforms on 1 March 2024.
- Unblock the delays in the rollout of the public infrastructure programme.
- Intervene in the 36 municipalities routinely failing to pay their employees.
- Repeal the Municipal Systems Amendment Act clause banning all 350 000 municipal workers from holding office in a political party at any level.
- Urgently intervene to rebuild and modernise Transnet and Metro Rail.
- Urgently intervene to prevent the collapse and liquidation of the Post Office.
- Allocate additional resources to ensure the SAPS, NPA, SIU, Hawks and judiciary are sufficiently resourced to win the war against crime and corruption.
- Allocate further funds to SARS to tackle tax evasion and customs fraud.
- Fill out all funded public service and sector vacancies by December 2023.