The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has slated Thursday next week as a day of a national strike to press demands for a variety of issues affecting the welfare of workers.
The Federation confirmed that the strike would be held in all nine provinces with various activities taking place per province with the delivery of petitions to government establishments, private businesses including mining houses, Municipal Offices, Premiers’ offices, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and Parliament, among others.
Speaking to Business Report, Cosatu spokesperson Matthew Parks said the socio-economic protests were to press home issues that had been raised before including the high unemployment rate, load shedding, attacks on national infrastructure including that of Eskom and Transnet, unpaid salaries by some municipalities and employers undermining collective agreements for workers work conditions.
“All of these issue have a huge impact on workers both in the government and the private sector. All of our affiliate unions will engage in the strike in all sectors of the economy. We are engaging with other unions as well to participate in the socio-economic protests. It is a legally protected strike and we have approval from Nedlac,” Parks said.
He said other issues included the fast rising interests rates, which has made interest payments by workers unaffordable. In the May meeting, the Monetary Policy Committee of the SARB increased the repurchase rate by 50 basis points, bringing it to 8.25%.
“It will be a one-day strike, with the no work no pay rule, you really have to be specific about that. This is part of our continuous campaign for the government and the private sector to address these issue affecting workers,” he said.
In April, Cosatu President Zingiswa Losi made a clarion call to labour to unite across federations in order strengthen the hand of unions.
Earlier this month, Cosatu welcomed the draft legislation on the Two-Pot Retirement System, but intends to lobby the government to increase the proposed withdrawal threshold of R25 000.
The system will allow South Africans to access one-third of their retirement savings throughout their working life, with the remaining two-thirds only accessible on retirement.
The new retirement system is expected to encourage preservation while also assisting South Africans who are battling to make ends meet.
Members of retirement funds will be able to withdraw a maximum of 10% or a maximum of R25 000 from their retirement fund.This amount will be taxed according to your income and tax marginal rate.
Cosatu says this amount is insufficient and that it should be increased to at least R50 000 to enable cash-strapped workers to deal with their financial challenges.