Massive nationwide strike planned for this week

 ·4 Jul 2023

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) is expected to embark on a nationwide strike this Thursday (6 July).

Cosatu, which boasts roughly 2 million members across the country, said it will be protesting against socio-economic factors hurting everyday workers.

“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,” it said.

“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.”

The strike is protected under section 77 of the Labour Relations Act and is expected to affect major urban centres and cities in all nine provinces. The National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) has granted the union a certificate to strike.

The union said that the following steps could be taken to alleviate pressure on employees and uplift the economy:

  • 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 two 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.

Cosatu’s parliamentary coordinator Matthew Parks told ENCA that a 42% unemployment rate is unacceptable. He said that those that are employed face lost wages, employers who undermine collective agreements, municipalities that have or are collapsing and a hampered economy.

“Workers cannot stand this level of impoverishment,” Parks said.

The coordinator said that the strike is a way to put pressure on the private and public sectors to take action. “If we are going to address these (goals) and implement them, the economy can pick up.”

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