The Planned Action against Retrenchment and Rising Unemployment

COSATU KZN is shattered and very angry with the revived efforts to deepen neoliberal agenda by our South African government and state.

The Industrial Action on the 22nd November 2018 to be led by our President comrade Zingiswa Losi in Petermartizburg, is beginning of our responce as COSATU to this renewed attack against the workers and the poor.

This neoliberal agenda is showing its ugly head in various forms, for instance:

  1. Jobs are being shed, adding to an already growing level of unemployment, which currently stands at more than a quarter of currently active job seekers, 36.7% of the discouraged job seekers. The majority of these unemployed are women and youth. The youth unemployment includes post graduates who have qualifications for the job. Therefore the recent retrenchments and looming retrenchments at SABC, ESKOM, in the Mining sector are an addition to the unemployment and a contradiction to government commitment to employment creation. Allowing this to happen is maxim that we careless for the families and children who are going to linger in poverty. It is a message that our officials are grandstanding about unemployment and therefore a serious course of concern for COSATU.
  2. The attack to the Public Servants workers for bloating the state is the undermining of the role the public servant workers are playing in the development of our country and in service delivery. This reckless blame comes at a time where the government is supposed to be exploring more measures to build its capacity to deliver services to the poor and servicing the dilapidating government infrastructure.
  3. The process of retrenching workers which is being embarked on by Langalibalele municipality after the amalgamation of Imbabazane and Mtshezi is the indication of the lack to create decent work with job security.
  4. There is a very strong knot for privatization of the state owned assets. The declaration by the new Minister of Finance, Mr. Tito Mboweni to privatize SAA, the renewed attempt to privatize ESKOM etc. is the divergent to the commitment of a developmental state and the building state capacity to deliver services to all South Africans. Privatization creates atypical employment, shed jobs and deliver substandard service in an expensive cost to the public.
  5. The problems in the abovementioned State Owned Entities including Transnet, PRASA etc. are a causal effect of the lack of accountability measures on the side of officials entrusted with these entities.
  6. High Cost of Living for the working class. The poor workers in the country are always expected to pay the same way with millionaires and billionaires when it comes to spending. The increase in VAT at the beginning of this year and the perpetual increase in fuel is the augmentation of the dog-eat-dog system of capitalism.
  7. We also observe that many workers continue to work under very hazardous environments and their lives have been compromised, in-spite of hard fought Occupational Health and Safety Act. The growing scourge of workers injured on duty, and some losing their lives cannot be left unchallenged, worse when there is no accountability or consequence for perpetrators.

Studies have shown a decline in labour share while there is rise in capital, and this is due to large and global investors demanding more returns on investments with emphasis on cutting on labour costs, but profit accumulation remains an order of the day.

These retrenchments are a serious infidelity of the Job Summit commitments by business as a social partner in NEDLAC.

All of the above are contrary to our National Democratic Revolution commitment to reduce class inequality within our society.

This is a clear indication that capitalists and our government officials continue to use workers as escape goats to address challenges created by the system, a double jeopardy for workers.

This increased capitalism requires our government to come clean on their commitment to the National Democratic Revolution and service to the poor.

State owned entities must not be privatized rather call all the officials of these entities for accountability and action must be taken against the perpetrators.

COSATU is committed to defend all workers in different sectors from this revived offensive by neoliberalism, including workers of SABC, ESKOM, Mining and even public servants.

We will continue our fight against the high cost of Living to the working class caused by Fuel and VAT Increase

National Minimum Wage must be realized with immediate effect to benefit all those that stands to benefit, and we call on the President Cyril Ramaphosa to gazette the National Minimum Wage with immediate effect.

We will further enhance our struggle against the Labour Brokers and the full realization of the ruling of the Constitutional Court decision for the conversion of workers who are employed under the Labour Brokers for period more than
Three months.

We will unleash our shop stewards to make sure that all workplaces are safe for the workers and that all have Health and Safety Reps.

We shall continue to fight for the in-sourcing of services in line with the Election Manifesto of the ruling party, through demanding accountability from the officials.

We will continue our fight for the protection of women and children, as part of ensuring a better future for all South Africans.

The planned COSATU Industrial Action is a response to this revived neoliberal offensive against workers, activities will take form of a march on 22 November 2018 at Petermaritzburg from Alex Pole Park to Premiers Office, and will be
led by COSATU President, comrade Zingiswa Losi.

Memorandums on our demands will be delivered to government, business and the Department of Labour.

The 27th November 2018, is COSATU’s National Day of Action against Gender Based violence, women and children violence in particular and the Province will host Gender Imbizo from the 27th to 28th November 2018, and will stage a massive Picket at the SACB and all the workplaces against sexual harassment.

The 33rd Anniversary of COSATU will be done jointly with our Young Workers in the Province through the Elijah Barayi – COSATU founding President Lecture on the 8th December 2018, to mobilize workers behind the struggle of workers.

To this end we call on all workers and members to join hands as we take the war to the door step of authorities, in defence of workers and the poorer.

Issued by COSATU KZN

Edwin Mkhize
082 399 7756