The Congress of South African Trade Unions supports the ongoing strike at Makro by workers affiliated to our union South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (Saccawu) after the collapse of the wage dispute resolution at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
The union has been constructively trying to work with the Massmart Group to find an amicable solution to resolve the current wage impasse. The union is demanding an across-the-board increase of R900 or 12%, a minimum wage of R8,000 and a 13th cheque. All these demands are reasonable and are in line with the escalating cost of living that has seen the price of everything going through the roof.
It is beyond the pale that Makro is alleged by workers to be seeking to collapse workers’ constitutional rights to collective bargaining, unionise and organise, by telling workers that they will only receive an increase if they resign from their democratically formed trade union, SACCAWU. This barefaced attack on collective bargaining is intended to convert workers into beggars and glorified slaves.
The 14th National Congress of COSATU was clear that the only way to respond to such challenges is for workers to take forward their struggles, advance and defend their interests and aspirations, and fight to the bitter end for that which belongs to them.
Makro workers have drawn a line in the sand and are clearly communicating their rejection of the attempts by their employer to reverse their hard-won gains. Workers are demanding that the people shall share in the country’s wealth. Our members are demonstrating their lack of patience through strikes and service delivery protests. Our members are demanding an end to starvation wages that, in the main, affect the black working class. Our unions will spare no efforts to fight against poverty wages and near-slavery working conditions in most sectors of the economy.
COSATU salutes Makro workers for showing resilience and for standing up against attempts to institutionalise poverty wages by their employer. The Federation will be engaging with government on how the legislative framework could be strengthened to deal firmly with such delinquent employers, be it through sanctions by labour inspectors as well as barring of such companies from state tenders.
We reiterate our call to all South Africans to support the strike by not crossing the picket line and withdrawing their buying power from Makro stores.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794