Employers must pressure government to amend lockdown restrictions – Solidarity
CAPE TOWN - Trade union Solidarity on Wednesday said it had sent letters to more than 10 000 players in the South African economy, asking each to pressure government into revising its Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
Among the recipients were several thousand small and medium-sized businesses, large companies, as well as trade unions such as Cosatu and Fedusa.
“When we see that the economy and jobs are being destroyed, we cannot just sit back and wait. Role-players in the economy have a responsibility to actively let their voices be heard. That is what is expected of an active citizenry. Solidarity is undaunted in its resistance to the virus but is also undaunted in its stance in favour of work and the economy,” said Solidarity chief executive Dirk Hermann.
He said it would be "catastrophic" for the economy and jobs if there was not a radical intervention in the current lockdown strategy.
The consequences on the economy, health and the loss of life would be greater than the consequences of Covid-19, he said.
In a survey Solidarity conducted among its members, 50% of participants indicated they were already only receiving a portion of their salaries.
Hermann said the union also sent letters to President Cyril Ramaphosa and various ministers urging that citizens who could work without compromising their health should do so.
Solidarity wanted the management of Covid-19 risks to fall to employers, said Hermann.
Hermann said democracies only enjoyed equilibrium if there was an active civil society. While South Africa was in a state of disaster, it was not "a dictatorship".
"We dare not sit and wait for orders from a command council," he said.
Economists have warned tthe lockdown could cause the country's GDP to shrink to 23% for the second quarter, while the unemployment rate could rise to 50%.