NATIONAL NEWS - More than 100 workers representing various sectors marched through Johannesburg yesterday to hand over a memorandum with a list of demands.
The march was in light of the national strike arranged by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and its affiliate members to picket against job losses, unemployment and corruption.
The memorandum was handed over to the office of the premier, the Mineral Council and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, with Cosatu demanding a response within 14 days.
Puleng Mocumi, an employee in the waste management industry, said they were expected to work in terrible working conditions while earning peanuts. She said they have been under contract for the past 15 years and still await permanent employment.
“There’s corruption in the industry. Most of the money is taken by those who issue the tenders while we slave on. Employees are also chosen by those who receive the tender so no one is guaranteed a permanent position,” Mocumi said.
National Union of Mineworkers treasurer-general Mpho Phakedi said: “We will no longer work for mahala [free]. The cost of living has increased and so should our salaries and wages.
“Workers must be treated with dignity and not abused in both the private and the public sector. Tenders are still giving to the [white people] of the country while the rest of us suffer. Transformation is needed in the workplace.”
Despite the traffic backup the strike caused, street vendors took the opportunity to make money. Imraan Abdul has been a vendor in the Joburg central business district for the three years. He said yesterday that his fruit was selling faster than usual because of the many people in the area.
“I will make more than usual because the support from the protesters has been great,” Abdul said.