The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) supports the planned National Day of Action by public service workers on the 22nd of November 2022 over wage negotiations. The current economic trends have unleashed very harsh conditions for the workers, including public servants, and led to a precipitous decline in the social position of the working class. The public service trade unions are justified in waging a struggle in defense of their members.
We reiterate our call on the South African government to sit down with unions at the PSCBC and engage in good faith to find an amicable solution to avoid labour instability in the public service. The consequences of a full-blown public service strike will be devastating for poor communities who are reliant on government for their services and for public servants who are drowning in debt supporting relatives, who have lost wages and jobs in an economy battling to emerge from a recession.
It is depressingly sad that the austerity measures that are implemented by the government have mainly affected workers that are at the lower levels in the public service hierarchy. This right-wing ideological model of the public sector that is intent on curbing spending on personnel salaries which it sees as consumption, therefore wasteful, rather than investment will also collapse service delivery that the public and the economy depend upon.
Whilst the Federation will continue to engage government to push for an amicable solution, we will also offer full support to our members who are busy mobilising. The message from the recently held COSATU 14th National Congress is clear, the workers want a Federation and Affiliates with the capacity to wage militant struggles in defence of their rights, they want strong workplace organisations in advancing their collective bargaining demands.
We intend to campaign for the active participation of the broadest sections of workers and South Africans in the fight to defend public service workers and the public sector itself. This will include our participation in mass picketing, organising sympathy strikes and solidarity activities embracing the widest sections of workers.
We are encouraged by the unity that workers have shown in defence of their rights, COSATU calls on workers to unite and work together because “An injury to one is an injury to all”. We also want to remind government that it will pay a huge price if it sets itself in opposition to the working class. Political parties would be well advised as we approach the 2024 elections not to forget that workers and their families are also voters, and will remember where politicians stood when workers were demanding their rights to a living wage and for collective bargaining to be respected.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794