COSATU and its Affiliated Unions will embark on a nationwide socio-economic strike on the 6th of July 2023

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and all its Affiliated Unions will be embarking on a nationwide socio-economic strike on Thursday 6th July 2023 with marches taking place across major urban centres in all 9 provinces. Details of the marches are available at

This is a protected strike, and a Section 77 strike certificate has been issued by Nedlac guaranteeing all workers protection if they join the strike. The Federation is pleased with the overwhelmingly positive response from the workers. Most workers have expressed full support for this strike, and we urge all workers, unions, and federations to join it.

We are embarking on this nationwide strike in protest of the rising levels of unemployment, wage cuts, poverty and inequality affecting the workers and the working class in general. It is in defence of workers’ hard-won rights to bargain and attempts by employers in both the public and private sectors attempts to undermine this constitutional right.

It is a demonstration by workers that government needs to do more to end the current levels of load-shedding, cable theft, crime and corruption, wasteful expenditure and austerity cuts crippling the state, suffocating the economy, and further plunging workers into high levels of indebtedness and misery.  This is also a signal to the government, the Reserve Bank, and the commercial banks, that the working class can no longer afford to bear the burden of rising levels of inflation, electricity tariff hikes and relentless and reckless increases in the repo rate.  

We demand that all employers pay workers a living wage if they are to survive and buy the goods that the economy produces. It is not acceptable that 29 years into democracy, South Africa remains the world’s most unequal society.

COSATU has consistently and continuously raised the frustration of workers with the government and the private sector with minimal response coming from them. Workers are losing hope and patience. The levels of frustration, despair, anger, poverty, indebtedness, unemployment, crime, and corruption are a ticking time bomb that the government and businesses need to deal with fast.

The government has become oblivious to the socio-economic challenges and continues to promote neo-liberal policies advancing the capitalist system while people live in poverty and suffocate in an ailing economy. Due to a lack of clean water, lives have been lost to an outbreak of cholera. Despite the deaths, communities were offered meek platitudes of clean piped water by March 2024.

The working class is bleeding from the government’s sluggish response to policy failures that are leading to cuts in real wages and a rise in unemployment with more than half the population struggling to make ends meet.

COSATU demands action which will address the delipidating railway infrastructure, and collapse in municipalities, 36 of which routinely fail to pay their employees. Companies are closing in many rural towns as basic services deteriorate.

The Federation has always offered solutions to tackle this myriad of mostly autogenic crises. Countless solutions have been tabled. The government needs to immediately do the following:

  • Raise the SRD Grant to the food poverty line in the October MTBPS.
  • Extend the Presidential Employment Stimulus to accommodate 1 million active participants in October 2023 and 2 million in February 2024.
  • Ensure the implementation of the 2 pot pension reforms on 1 March 2024.
  • Unblock the delays in the rollout of the public infrastructure programme.
  • Intervene in the 36 municipalities routinely failing to pay their employees.
  • Repeal the Municipal Systems Amendment Act clause banning all 350 000 municipal workers from holding office in a political party at any level.
  • Urgently intervene to rebuild and modernise Transnet and Metro Rail.
  • Urgently intervene to prevent the collapse and liquidation of the Post Office.
  • Allocate additional resources to ensure the SAPS, NPA, SIU, Hawks and judiciary are sufficiently resourced to win the war against crime and corruption.
  • Allocate further funds to SARS to tackle tax evasion and customs fraud.
  • Fill out all funded public service and sector vacancies by December 2023.

The current situation must not be normalised, and the state must act to rescue the working class and the economy from this quagmire.  Decisive action is now needed from the government because workers are running out of patience.

Issued by COSATU

For further information please contact:

Matthew Parks
Parliamentary Coordinator
Cell: 082 785 0687