File image: IOL.
File image: IOL.

INFO: What you need to know about the general national strike

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Apr 25, 2018

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CAPE TOWN - Thousands of workers are set to take to the streets tomorrow for a general national strike, following the South African Federation of Trade Unions plan to make SA “ungovernable”,  

This comes after the union handed over a memorandum of demands to parliament on April 12. The demands include an increase in the new minimum wage bill, labour law amendments and Nedlac membership, reports Fin24.

Saftu in a statement said it would rally its affiliates and allies in civil society to demand "action to end the country’s crisis of unemployment, poverty and inequality".

"In particular we are mobilising workers against a ferocious declaration of war by the ruling class of white monopoly capitalists, who are trying to get Parliament to pass new laws which will entrench poverty and threaten workers’ Constitutional right to withdraw their labour."

"Support is growing daily and we are confident that we shall bring South Africa to a standstill and fill the towns and villages with angry workers, employed and unemployed, members of all unions or none, who are demanding action to end the country’s crisis of unemployment, poverty and inequality. 

Saftu added that: "six days later, we shall be reassembling our forces in Bloemfontein and elsewhere for the traditional May Day celebration, the day when workers around the world honour the memory of our fallen heroes and heroines and recommit to the struggle for the unshackling of the workers from the chains of the employers and their co-conspirators in government".

The general strike will take place in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein but Saftu added, that additional marches would take place in other locations.

The strike will see all employees advocate for these amendments based on a ‘’no work, no pay principle’. 

According to Section 77 of the Labour Relations Act, workers are permitted to embark on a protected strike action in order to promote their social and economic interests. 

What will workers be striking for? 

1.Labour law amendments

Amendments to the Labour Relations Act, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and the new National Minimum Wage Bill is currently being considered by parliament. However, these amendments may make it more difficult for individuals to embark on strike action, if it is proven to be violent. 

2.Minimum wage

Saftu refutes the R20 an hour minimum wage agreement, which was set to be implemented on May 1.The union has called on parliament to provide a decent living wage. 

3.Nedlac membership

The forthcoming strike is reportedly linked to a campaign to be recognised by Nedlac. 

Currently, Sadtu does not form part of Nedlac. In order to become a member of Nedlac, unions have to submit audited membership figures and financial statements. However, Saftu does not have these figures nor statements as the federation was formed in 2017. 

Meanwhile, Cosatu - the Congress of South African Trade Unions will not be part of the strike. Also, Nactu - the National Council of Trade Unions and Fedusa -the Federation of Unions of South Africa will not be joining the strike as they believe that already 40% of workers will benefit from the new minimum wage and that the new wage will be “a huge benefit to the country”. 

Thus far, Durban has already made inroads in order to accommodate the strike and ensure that the least amount of unrest is caused. 

Around 3 000 workers are expected to take to Durban’s streets tomorrow as they protest against a number of issues, including a planned introduction of a minimum wage.

August Mbele, spokesperson for the SA Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) in KZN said workers from all regions across the province will bussed into the city for the strike.

“We will start assembling at Dinuzulu (Botha’s) Park from 9am. By 11am, we will proceed up Pixley Ka Seme Street (West) towards City Hall where we will hand over our memorandum to officials,” he said.

Durban Metro Police spokesperson, Senior Superintendent Parboo Sewpersadh advised the public to avoid the march route until well after lunchtime.

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