File photo: DA's Eastern Cape leader Athol Trollip.

Johannesburg - Political parties and unions expressed mixed sentiments on May Day about the progress made in securing workers' rights.

While the ANC Youth League suggested that the lives of employees had improved since 1994, the DA's Eastern Cape leader Athol Trollip asked: “Where are the jobs President Zuma?”

African National Congress Youth League spokesman Bandile Masuku said in a statement that workers needed to vote for the ANC to “defend the gains of our democracy and freedom.

“Voting for the short-minded radicals might turn our country into a lawless, poorly-governed state ruled by anarchists, where (the) economy will collapse.”

In a speech prepared for delivery at a Democratic Alliance campaign meeting in Kwazakhele, Port Elizabeth, Trollip said unemployment in the Eastern Cape was “out of control.

“We have inherited an economy of insiders and outsiders.”

He urged his party supporters to remain loyal, promising that the DA would reduce the red tape that was suffocating businesses, and “kill corruption”.

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said labour issues could not be dependent on affiliations with political parties.

“The labour disputes, such as the current ones in the mining industry, make it clear that where labour is directly affiliated and dependent upon a political master, it does not serve its primary purpose,” he said in a statement.

Holomisa urged South Africans to support his party, promising job creation.

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union said May Day was “a day to express our anger against capitalist exploitation and barbarity, poverty wages and the growing inequality”.

The union's spokesman Sizwe Pamla reiterated its support of the ruling party.

“We call on workers to ardently campaign and overwhelmingly vote for the ANC in the upcoming national general elections,” he said in a statement.

The Workers and Socialist Party said most tripartite alliance members from the SA Communist Party, ANC, and Cosatu were hypocrites.

“The bosses are celebrating with the workers today, but tomorrow will exploit them for their own personal enrichment.”

Trade union Denosa who said while great strides had been made in workers' rights, more could be done.

“The health sector, both public and private, can remunerate nurses much better, and sufficient and reliable staffing can also improve both conditions of service for workers as well as the quality of service for people,” Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA spokesman Sibongiseni Delihlazo said in a statement. - Sapa