Jobs summit will not alleviate poverty, says Saftu
Johannesburg - The upcoming jobs summit will not do anything to reduce unemployment, the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) said on Tuesday.
The trade union federation said it turned down an invitation from government to attend the summit this week in Johannesburg, and published its letter to National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) executive director Madoda Vilakazi declining the invitation.
''Saftu has however decided to decline your invitation, as we do not believe that the summit will contribute anything to the reduction of unemployment, alleviation of poverty or narrowing of inequality. We are also concerned that our participation might be simply a way to swell numbers, and give the appearance of inclusivity when agreements being presented to the Summit have already been fixed by the three constituencies of government, business and labour,'' read the letter.
''Saftu is particularly determined not to run the risk of being seen as a party to resolutions like those of past summits, where empty rhetoric was used to cloak the protection of vested interests, and prevent a genuine attempt to create jobs or redistribute wealth.''
The federation was formed after the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) expelled its secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi for bringing the federation into disrepute. Supporters of Vavi, such as the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) also left the federation, taking thousands of union members to form Saftu, launched in April last year.
Saftu said government and businesses are unable to come up with solutions, and will try to persuade labour federations at the summit to ''sign a vague and hollow declaration in support of business as usual''.
''We call on members of those other union federations to demand that their leaders refuse to put their names to any such declaration, which will reflect only the employers’ interests. The fundamental problem with the summit is that government and business, and unfortunately some labour representatives, fail to understand that the underlying cause of the economic crisis is the economy’s domination by the still overwhelmingly white-owned monopoly capitalist class.''
Government said the job summit will bring together labour, business, community organisations and the State to tackle South Africa's rising unemployment. The conference will take place on Thursday and Friday in Midrand.
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African News Agency (ANA)