COSATU statement on the outcomes of the KZN PEC Strategic Planning Session

The Congress of South African Trade Unions in the KZN Province held its two days Provincial Executive Committee Strategic Planning Session on the 12th and 13th March 2020.This meeting was attended by affiliated COSATU unions and by COSATU President, Comrade Zingiswa Losi.

The meeting noted that the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus was first reported in our province. We support the urgent measures that have been taken and outlined to protect workers and communities.

We salute the leadership of the federation for leading from the front on this matter and providing the same leadership they provided during the outbreak of HIV/Aids.

We welcome the level of cooperation, collaboration and common action that has taken place so far. We all need to act in solidarity with all of our compatriots, especially those at the bottom end of the economic pyramid.

Companies need to elevate their level of compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act. They also need to follow guidelines as provided by the Department of Labour and Employment and making extra efforts as recommended.

Our municipalities and departments must be compelled to maximize their efforts to improve the level of cleanliness, including provision clean water and assisting poor communities with accessibility to alcohol sanitizers.

Since the gathering of more than one hundred people is prohibited, unions need to urgently develop the most effective and efficient methods to service workers under the circumstances. This will help circumvent notorious employers from abusing the situation.

If any activity is to be deferred, as COSATU, we will make sure that the impact is not to the detriment of the workers.

On retrenchments & mass dismissals of workers. Unresolved cases of mass dismissals of workers involving Newcastle and Ugu municipalities, we will heighten the struggle to defend these workers. We plan to engage the Premier’s Office and also mobilise protest demonstrations, including sit-in in provincial government and Premier’s Office.

We further identified the need to focus on the challenges facing majority of our municipalities, especially following the recent arrest of the eThekwini municipal manager. eThekwini municipality has also recently showed a lack of capacity to deal with mere conflict resolution process, outsourcing this service and costing municipality millions of Rands. We still demand an investigation of ths matter.

We further call for urgent action towards resolving the stalemate between workers and uMgeni municipality.

We further call on our Premier and MEC for COGTA to further take actions and institute forensic investigations against municipalities who are perpetually failing to receive clean audits from Auditor General.  

The progress in reinstating workers in Gale Street mortuary is welcomed. However, we condemn the technical relocation of the mortuary by the department of health.

COSATU will continue enhance the campaign against retrenchments and for the creation of decent employment. Union leaders are to monitor Section 189 cases and ensure no retrenchment of workers go unchallenged. We also call on the Economic Council to urgently conclude the list of companies in destress and identify rescue measures where necessary. 

The Mnambiti impasse and impact to the workers and communities is a matter of concern to COSATU. This public protest is no different from the one previously experienced in Mandeni which left many workers without jobs. We saw the same issue in Richards Bay affecting RBM workers.

Many workers have lost wages and employment during these protests because some companies have threatened disinvestment. The main concern is the perpetual attempt to relegate labour from protecting workers during these resolution processes. This unnecessary conduct by government officials and affected parties has led to inconsiderate decisions taken with employers on behalf of the workers.

It is highly unaccepted for our democratic government to prioritize the interest of those who control capital over the interests of the poor. COSATU will continue to make a call for a whole inclusive approach in the resolution of the Mnambiti impasse.

We also call on EDTIA to convene Economic Council Conveners meeting. This meeting is to be extended to the local social partners in Mnambiti to further engage in a revitalization plan. 

Working with Student Movements for stability in the Institutions of Higher Learning and Schools is one crucial task for our struggle. This challenge facing institutions of High Learning is undesirable and unsustainable.

COSATU will use its Young Workers structure to engage SASCO and COSAS and further lift these issues to the alliance for decisive intervention. We shall also ensure that there is better cooperation between students and our unions in the Institutions of Higher Learning.

Government’s pronouncement that they are reneging on implementing the 2018 multi-year agreement for salary increases of public servants is worrying.

 We shall refuse a situation where public servants are made sacrificial lambs of this crisis.

The same government is expecting these workers protect the people and enforce the very prescripts by the President.

The struggle for National Minimum Wage and Living Wage will be prioritized, all our unions are called to continue fighting for full implementation of the national minimum wage while advancing struggle for its improvement. Moving to the Bargaining Conference of the Federation, unions and worker leaders in the Province are called to prepare themselves adequately to bring innovative ideas for the campaign on decent living wage for all workers.

We further resolved to enhance our research and understanding for the future of work and the Fourth Industrial Revolution as key in protecting workers jobs and we view the forthcoming Bargaining Conference of COSATU as key towards achieving this mission.

The PEC Strategic Planning Session developed a clear plan for the Federation in the Province of KZN to better advance the struggle for worker rights in all fronts being internationally, political and ideological battle, organizationally and socio-economic campaigns.

Issued by COSATU KZN

For enquiries contact :Edwin Mkhize- COSATU KZN Provincial Secretary

082 399 7756 or 076 522 8839

Provincial Office-010 219 1380