Zwelinzima Vavi. Picture: SUNDAY WORLD
Zwelinzima Vavi. Picture: SUNDAY WORLD

The debate about forming a Workers Party to unite the left political formations and progressive civil society formations cannot be postponed‚ the general secretary of the SA Federation of Trade Unions‚ Zwelinzima Vavi‚ said on Saturday.

Addressing the congress of the Transport Action Retail and General Workers Union (THOR) in Durban‚ Vavvi said the "ANC‚ not Zuma or Ramaphosa‚ has worsened the material conditions of the working class to a pauper status".

"This is the second most important struggle‚ which cannot be separated from the struggle to rebuild trade unions and civil society formations.

"In my personal view the debate about forming a Workers Party to unite the left political formations and progressive civil society formations cannot be postponed‚ lest we remain in this worsening situation for may more decades to come‚" Vavi said.

He said SAFTU needed to unite with all progressive unions inside and outside the federation‚including civil society formations‚ to call for the withdrawal of the VAT increase.

"A series of general strikes to force a reversal of this assault on the living standards of the poor must be coordinated as a working-class response."

Vavi added that a general strike should also be called to reverse the "Nedlac sell-out agreement that imposes a R20 an hour national minimum wage but worse R18 for farm workers‚ R15 for domestics and R11 for the Extended Public Works Programme. The Labour Law amendments as you know also launch an attack on our hard-won right to strike."

He also urged a series of demonstrations to demand a "People’s Budget" that would prioritise decent jobs‚ re-industrialisation‚ nationalisation of mineral resources to release resources needed to provide free education and healthcare‚ wealth and solidarity tax and "reversal of the past two decades of slashing of the corporate taxes‚ measures to stop the illicit cash out flows and trade transfers‚ measures to end government wastages including by cutting the size of the executive by two thirds‚ etc".

"We must convene soon our own people’s parliament to unite against the onslaught of the poor.

"If we don’t take up heightened mass mobilisation against the neoliberalism‚ we should not blame workers who will again replace one butcher of the working class with another butcher of the working class in the 2019 general elections and beyond‚" Vavi asserted.

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