The Confederation of Trade Unions (Cosatu) said its stay-away yesterday to highlight labour and socio-economic issues was successful and it was looking forward to the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTPBS) later on this year to gauge government's response to the demands presented.
Spokesperson Matthew Parks said the turnout in all nine provinces and major urban areas had been overwhelming and where workers did not go to the marching events, they staged pickets outside their places of employment.
At least two unions, the Democratic Nurses Association of South Africa (DENOSA) and the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) marched shoulder to shoulder in delivering the petitions to various institutions including the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), the South African Local Governments Association (SALGA), government institutions and at various employer organisations.
The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) led by Cosatu's former Secretary Genera;l Zwelinzima Vavi, was also part of the action , Parks said.
Also on the roll-call were the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu), the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), National Education and the Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu).
"We really are quite pleased with the numbers and the positive turnout. The whole purpose of the stay away was to highlight not only issues of labour, but socio-economic concerns as well, as things like load shedding, high inflation, municipalities not paying workers in time, much needed improvements in infrastructure, transportation problems and all that, affects people all around the ocuntry,' not just workers," Parks said.
He said the government would as normal with petitions be given at least two weeks to respond to the issues, but that because some of them required financial input from the state, it would be the MTPBS that would indicate government's level of commitment to address the issues.
Employer organisations including the National Employers Association of South Africa (NEASA) had also given its public acknowledgement of the protest action which had been sanctioned by NEDLAC as well.
COSATU President Zingisa Losi said other demands include the extension of the Presidential Employment Stimulus to accommodate 1 million active participants in October, and 2 million in February 2024.
“So we are calling on the government and business to say ‘stick to the commitments you have made’ during the investments and jobs summits. The government must also raise the Social Relief of Distress grant to the food poverty line in October during the Medium-Term budget Policy Statement," Losi said.
Cosatu also wants the government to ensure the implementation of the 2 pot pension reforms on 1 March 2024 and fill out all funded public service and sector vacancies by December.