We’ll resort to stay aways, Cosatu warns
Durban - Cosatu in KwaZulu-Natal says it will resort to stayaways, and small group protest actions to fight against the government’s decision to halt public servants’ salary increments.
Provincial secretary Edwin Mkhize said the union would apply the strategy as opposed to mass rallies in order to comply with restrictions President Cyril Ramaphosa announced, that there should be no gatherings of more than 100 people in order to prevent the risk of Covid-19 infections.
“Remember that during the struggle against apartheid, we would conduct strikes through stayaways and sit down at home.
“We can also gather and protest in numbers that are less than 100 in different sections across the country, and there are many ways we could mobilise workers,” Mkhize said.
He said the union was furious at the government’s decision to withdraw from the multi-year salary increase agreement.
“We are not going to allow such a thing to happen, and the government is wrong if it thinks we are not going to mobilise. We will find ways to mobilise and defend public servants.”.
However, the union on Wednesday cancelled its press briefing, supposed to have been held in Durban, to avoid possible infections and opted for telephonic interviews with journalists.
Mkhize also said the provincial leadership had received a national directive that the national and provincial May Day rallies and provincial shop steward councils would be cancelled in the interest of members.
“But they (cancellations) are going to be communicated properly.”
The provincial branch of the organisation was supposed to gather at the Harry Gwala Stadium for a May Day commemoration, while Ramaphosa and Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi had been scheduled to address all Cosatu members in the country through live streaming from the main event in the North West province.
Mkhize said at a later stage the cancellation of the May Day events would be compensated for with other major events, “once we are cleared of (the virus). We can use those events more effectively than May 1 by taking up issues of workers through big rallies or marches.”
Cosatu national spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said the federation had on Tuesday taken a decision to cancel all mass gathering events.
He said the three-day congress of the SA Municipal Workers’ Union, which was due to be held in Mafikeng between Monday and Thursday next week, had also been cancelled.