COSATU is humbled by the overwhelming response by workers to the Federation’s May Day Rallies

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is humbled by the overwhelming response by workers to the Federation’s May Day rallies that took place at venues across all nine provinces on 1 May, Workers’ Day.

Thousands of members representing millions of workers and their families across economic sectors and workplaces, braved cold and wet conditions, travelling long distances to celebrate this important occasion with some of the highest attendances in recent times.

Workers’ Day has traditionally been observed by workers across the world as a day to honour the sacrifices of countless workers and the struggles of generations to improve the working and living conditions of the working class.  It became a public holiday after many years of campaigns for it to be declared as such by COSATU and its predecessors.

It is an opportunity to celebrate the many victories COSATU and workers have achieved with our alliance partners, the African National Congress and South African Communist Party, since 1994 from our constitutional democracy to our progressive labour laws, from the 60% of the budget spent investing in working class communities to minimum and social wage achievements boosting workers’ incomes.

It is a moment for workers and COSATU to put pressure on the state and employers to do more to pay workers a living wage, tackle unemployment, grow the economy and invest in public services.

As we head towards the May 29th general elections, it is a rallying point to mobilise workers to come out in the millions on election day and return the ANC to office to continue our efforts to build a better life for all.

COSATU applauds workers for remaining resolute in the face of difficult challenges and for defending own hard-won victories from those who seek to reverse workers’ rights and protections. 

We are grateful for the outstanding work done by journalists and the media fraternity enabling millions to watch COSATU’s May celebrations, for the efforts by the South African and Traffic Police Services to ensure participants are safe, for drivers who provided transport, the sound and events crews who worked through the night, the catering and cleaning staff who worked long hours before and after the rallies, local artists who dazzled attendees and the many other workers who made these events so memorable.

We thank you.

Issued by COSATU.

For further information please contact:

Matthew Parks

Acting National Spokesperson & Parliamentary Coordinator

Cell: 082 785 0687


Cape Town, South Africa