Cosatu, Saftu call on all workers to join national strike action on Wednesday
Johannesburg – Cosatu and Saftu have called on all workers to down tools and stay at home on Wednesday as it embarks on a national socio-economic strike.
Work is set to come to a halt in many workplaces, both within the public and private sector, as the federation and its affiliates are taking to the streets over corruption and the government’s failure to increase salaries of public servants.
Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said the federation was encouraging workers in the public and private sector to down tools and stay away from work for the day as part of expressing their discontent with malfeasance and the country’s socio-economic trajectory.
“We need to take a stand and push back against this flagrant theft of taxpayer funds and the disgraceful abandonment of the working class by policymakers and decision makers. The only way to undo this corrupt system is through disruption and non-co-operation and obstruction,” Ntshalintshali said.
The federation indicated the strike action would include the convening of Covid-19 compliant and physically distanced pickets and motorcades across all provinces.
“This decentralisation of our activities will ensure that workers are involved and are all able to participate all over the country, but also that our activities do not spread this deadly virus,” Ntshalintshali said.
He stressed acts of civil disobedience were paramount to challenge “the death sentence that is handed to us by the political and business power structure” which he accused of mismanaging the country’s economy and of attacking the rights of workers.
“We need to refuse to be fooled by empty commitments and public declarations, but demand action and effectiveness from our leaders.
“The workers need to unite in defending jobs, fighting corruption, as well as the shortcomings of law enforcement agencies in fighting corruption and gender-based violence,” Ntshalintshali said.
Ntshalintshali blasted President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration over the management of the country’s economy, adding the 2.2 million job losses during the Covid-19 pandemic was an indictment on the performance of his Cabinet.
The government has come under fire from organised labour over its refusal to honour the 2018 multi-term three-year wage increase agreement this year, which unions say is the sign that the ANC-led government was attempting to undermine collective bargaining.
Ntshalintshali called on all workers to unite to block both the government and the private sector from trying to reverse workers’ victories.
“The cynical alliance between the government and the private sector that has seen the emergence of a corporate welfare state and the intensification of super-exploitation of the workers should be collectively fought by both unionised and non-unionised workers,” he said.
Cosatu and Saftu accused the government of pushing policies of austerity and privatisation at the expense of the working class and the poor who remained the biggest victims of socio-economic inequalities.
Saftu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi indicated his federation would be leading workers into nationwide protests on Wednesday.
“We are determined to put all the necessary sacrifices to ensure that SA doesn’t have to talk about other growing levels of unemployment, poverty and inequalities in the next 26 years of democracy.
“We have had enough of it and the bus stops here,” Vavi said.
Vavi also slammed the continued exclusion of the Saftu from the National Economic Development and Labour Council, despite having grown to become the second-biggest federation after Cosatu since its formation in 2017.