File picture: African News Agency (ANA)
File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Cosatu calls on millions of workers to stay at home on Thursday

By Baldwin Ndaba Time of article published Oct 5, 2021

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Cosatu has called on millions of workers in the country to stay at home on Thursday in protest against the freezing of wages in the government and private sector.

Cosatu’s planned strike day coincides with the Global Day of Decent Work which is observed worldwide.

The labour federation told the media that they would stage various protest actions in all parts of South Africa to express their disdain at the growing levels of unemployment, unacceptable wage freeze in the public service and private sector.

Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali on Tuesday said that the strike on Thursday was legally protected and was focused on pushing both the government and the private sector to act to fix the economic mess that the country finds itself in and to take seriously the issues that were affecting workers and South Africans in general.

“The federation is issuing a call to all workers and South Africans to join the strike on Thursday. They can either join the planned activities across the country or withdraw their labour by staying at home on the day,” Ntshalintshali said.

He reminded workers that the strike was taking place under Covid-19 restrictions, and he urged all their members and the broader society to continue to take precautions.

“Covid-19 has become the greatest challenge of our generation, and if we do not work together, it has the potential to be the single biggest reversal in the history of human development.

“On Thursday, we shall be demanding urgent action from policymakers in government and decision-makers in the private sector to stop the attacks that are directed at workers. Both the public and the private sector have been blatantly undermining collective bargaining,” he said.

Ntshalintshali said they would demand the reversal of budget cuts that have led to unacceptable wage freezes in the public service, the disintegration of the CCMA, and retrenchments in state-owned companies.

“We will also be calling on the private sector to abandon its investment strike that has seen many companies either hoarding or exporting cash out of the country, despite receiving generous incentives to invest back into the economy.

“This year, billions were given away in tax cuts when that money could have been used to increase government spending. Instead of clearly indicating that the rich must bear the burden of fixing the government’s balance sheet after decades of rising profits, in a country which is the most unequal in the world and whose inequality is grossly racialised.

“The government is going back to attacking the public service, at the time when there is a need to build the capacity of the state to accelerate service delivery,” Ntshalintshali said.

Political Bureau

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