Johannesburg - The ANC's election manifesto has taken on board many of the demands of the working class, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said on Wednesday.
“Cosatu believes that this election manifesto builds on the progress made in the past 20 years and introduces key commitments which we agree with,” Cosatu's acting general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali told reporters in Johannesburg.
He said Cosatu particularly welcomed the African National Congress's pledge to procure at least 75 percent of goods locally, to strengthen enforcement of the Employment Equity Act, and to ensure collective bargaining took place and was strengthened in all sectors.
“Cosatu believes that job creation must go hand in glove with decent work, and thus welcomes the ANC's commitment to ensure that bargaining councils are used as vehicles to promote greater equity and that collective bargaining takes place in all sectors,” Ntshalintshali said.
Cosatu welcomed the decision to investigate the modalities of a national minimum wage. This built on decisions taken at the alliance summit last year, he said. Cosatu has been discussing the need for a national minimum wage since 2012.
Ntshalintshali said Cosatu welcomed the ANC's insistence on industrialisation as a key job creation driver, and building the capacity of the manufacturing sector.
“We believe that, 20 years into our democracy, the South African economy must not still be based mainly on the export of raw materials, and that the only way to change this is through adding value to those materials by developing the manufacturing industry and beneficiating our natural resources.”
Cosatu, which had been against aspects of the National Development Plan, welcomed the ANC's acknowledgement that it was a living document which would be adapted to changing conditions.
“Cosatu agrees that there is a need, where appropriate, for a redrafting of the economic and labour policy sections of the NDP, which places far too much reliance on the capitalist free market to create jobs,” Ntshalintshali said.
Despite welcoming the ANC's commitment to reduce the rate of youth unemployment, he said Cosatu still believed that any form of youth wage incentives would exploit young workers and displace older workers.
“Despite the assurance that the ANC has given us that workers will be protected against displacement, we believe that no employer would admit the real reason for dismissing an employee and would possibly make allegations of misconduct or poor performance,” Ntshalintshali said. - Sapa