POLITICAL NEWS - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) will continue “to intensify its national mobilisation efforts in the build-up” to its protest action next week with a complete shutdown planned for Wednesday, 7 October.
The union said that its provincial branches will hand over memorandums and all affiliated workers will not be reporting for duty at to their places of employment.
“South Africa is teetering on the brink of collapse and it is about time we all stand up and demand urgent action from policymakers and decision-makers,” the federation said in a statement.
Cosatu has been calling on government to address the federation’s demands and said that its protest is set to highlight certain issues in South Africa including corruption, job losses, defence of collective bargaining, gender based violence (GBV) and the decrease of wages and salaries of its members.
The trade union federation also explained that government has failed to address “public transport challenges” in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and “to ensure a safer transport sector” for workers.
The federation is demanding that government reduce taxi capacity as ”many workers contracted the virus from the fully packed taxis”.
Cosatu also says that there is a “blatant undermining of collective bargaining that is currently unfolding in the public service is a test for the trade union movement in the country. This represents the blatant attempt to erode hard-won workers’ rights and reverse these gains of democracy.”
It called out corruption and looting, especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and in both the public and private sectors, saying that there is an expectation of workers to make sacrifices while mismanagement and criminal activity continued unabated.
The federation has called on all workers to observe social distancing regulations during its “socio economic protest action”.
Last week, Cosatu also expressed its support for the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union’s (Nehawu’s) “campaign in defence of frontline workers”.
“It is disheartening that frontline workers who are at the forefront of fighting coronavirus and dying with their boots on are treated with the highest levels [of] disdain by government.”
Nehawu has been in engagements with government on a range of issues concerning collective bargaining and workplace conditions in the public sector amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
A meeting hosted by President Cyril Ramaphosa with the national office-bearers of the public sector trade union was carried out on Friday, 25 September.