Newcastillians, get ready for a nationwide strike as the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) prepares to take action on Thursday, 6 July 2023.
Alongside its affiliated unions, COSATU is set to lead marches in all nine provinces of South Africa.
The Federation has declared this a protected strike, with Nedlac (National Economic and Development and Labour Council) issuing a Section 77 strike certificate, ensuring workers’ protection if they join the strike. COSATU has expressed satisfaction with the overwhelming support received from workers, who stand firmly behind the cause.
“We are embarking on this nationwide strike in protest of the rising levels of unemployment, wage cuts, poverty and inequality affecting the workers and the working class in general. It is in defence of workers’ hard-won rights to bargain and attempts by employers in both the public and private sectors attempts to undermine this constitutional right,” stated COSATU.
In addition, COSATU emphasised that the strike serves as a demonstration to urge the government to take more decisive action in addressing the current issues of loadshedding, cable theft, crime, corruption, wasteful expenditure, and austerity cuts.
These challenges have crippled the state, suffocated the economy, and further pushed workers into higher levels of debt 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,” warned COSATU.
COSATU further demands that all employers pay workers a living wage to enable them to survive and purchase the goods produced by the economy. The union stressed that it has consistently voiced workers’ frustrations to both the government and the private sector, with minimal response from them.
“Workers are losing hope and patience. The levels of frustration, despair, anger, poverty, indebtedness, unemployment, crime, and corruption are a ticking time bomb that the government and businesses need to deal with fast,” urged COSATU.
The group further highlighted that the government’s sluggish response to policy failures resulted in cuts to wages and a rise in unemployment, with more than half of the population struggling to make ends meet.
COSATU also demands action to address the deteriorating railway infrastructure and the collapse of municipalities, 36 of which consistently fail to pay their employees. “Companies are closing in many rural towns as basic services deteriorate,” COSATU pointed out.
The union has proposed numerous solutions to tackle these internal crises. Of which, they say the government must take immediate action by:
– Raising the SRD Grant to the food poverty line in the October MTBPS.
– Extending the Presidential Employment Stimulus to accommodate 1 million active participants in October 2023 and 2 million in February 2024.
– Ensuring the implementation of the two pot pension reforms on March 1, 2024.
– Resolving delays in the rollout of the public infrastructure program.
– Intervening in the 36 municipalities that routinely fail to pay their employees.
– Repealing the Municipal Systems Amendment Act clause that bans all 350,000 municipal workers from holding office in a political party at any level.
– Taking immediate action to prevent the collapse and liquidation of the Post Office.
– Allocating further funds to SARS to combat tax evasion and customs fraud.
– Filling all funded public service and sector vacancies by December 2023.
“The current situation must not be normalised, and the state must act to rescue the working class and the economy from this quagmire. Decisive action is now needed from the government because workers are running out of patience,” concluded COSATU.
As COSATU expresses its frustration and prepares for marches across South Africa on Thursday, it is essential to share your thoughts on these matters. Feel free to voice your opinions in the comment section below.