Pretoria - The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) has decided to escalate its demands for the government to halt the privatisation of state-owned assets within the public transport, road freight and passenger rail sectors to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Last week, members of the union marched to the Transport, Employment and Labour, and Public Enterprises departments to deliver a memorandum with these demands.
General-secretary for the union Jack Mazibuko said ministers Fikile Mbalula and Pravin Gordhan were not available, and only Thulas Nxesi received the memorandum in person.
Subsequently, the union said it was planning to march to the Union Buildings to request Ramaphosa to command Mbalula and Gordhan to "humble themselves and receive the memorandum in person“.
Mazibuko said the memorandum reflected the concerns of workers and their representative unions on the piecemeal privatisation of state-owned enterprises, rampant corruption within these entities, the non-payment of salaries by both public and private passenger bus operators, as well as the maladministration of these entities, which ultimately led to job losses.
He said: "Ministers Gordhan and Mbalula showed despicable arrogance towards workers and their hard-earned labour rights by not availing themselves to receive the memorandum of demands.
"We therefore took a principled stance that the memorandum will not be presented to one minister because the aim of the march was to present it to all three ministers in person, not through their representatives, who do not have policy-making powers.
"The leadership of the union presented to the workers at the march their unwavering collective position that we should reject the arrogance of ministers Gordhan and Mbalula, embark on another march, and call on the president to summon the ministers to respect the struggles of workers and the working class.“
He said the union sought the intervention of the president to make Mbalula and Gordhan humble themselves from their ivory towers and receive the memorandum of demands that expresses the plight of the working class in South Africa, the Southern African Development Community and the world.
He said as a disciplined trade union, they would continue to engage, in good faith, with the relevant departments and ministers on matters such as privatisation, non-payment of worker salaries and the protection of the rights of workers under collective bargaining agreements.