COSATU is calling on the government to respond to the plight of musicians and other creative artists during the Covid-19 lockdown

COSATU is calling on the South African government to urgently engage with (Trade Union for Musicians of South Africa) TUMSA on concrete ways to address the plight of musicians during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The Federation recognizes that musicians and other creative artists have been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 Pandemic. During the best of times, musicians and creative artists struggle to earn a decent living wage in the country. With the shutdown, they have seen their earnings collapse, and many have been reduced to absolute poverty. 

Musicians and creative artists are not covered by the Unemployment Insurance Fund due to not having permanent employers or incomes. This was acknowledged by the Department of Employment and Labour late in 2019, when it announced its intention to correct gaps in the existing UIF coverage. 

It is now public knowledge that the first attempt by the Department of Sports, Arts & Culture at distributing an initial allocation of R150million COVID-19 Relief Funding to that stricken sector has been a total failure, where only 116 of 6000 original applications were found to be compliant. As a result, musicians and other creative Workers have not had any relief for more than 7 weeks.

In that context , COSATU would like to express our thanks and support for the diligent work done by our youngest trade union, TUMSA (Trade Union for Musicians of South Africa) in the development of a fair and practical 2-Step Plan involving a Minimum Wage and Payment Holiday on Debt to Banks and other lending institutions.

COSATU is also concerned that both the Ministry and the Department for Sports, Arts and Culture have repeatedly failed to engage with TUMSA to work to find solutions to these crises. This is despite repeated requests to engage from TUMSA and various broken promises by the Ministry and Department to precisely do that 

The Federation urges the Minister and the Department to take this crisis with the seriousness it deserves. 

These are workers with families and responsibilities, and they are being let-down by bureaucratic bungling and political indifference. They are crying out for help and being repeatedly ignored, and doors are being slammed in their faces by the people entrusted with the responsibility to help them. The Minister needs to engage directly with TUMSA as a matter of urgency. 

It is unacceptable that everything has to be escalated to the Presidency for any action to be taken when there are people appointed to deal with the issues at a departmental level. No worker should be abandoned during this time of difficulty.

Issued by COSATU
 Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)

Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794