Economy must work for workers — or for no one, says Cosatu
THE Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) said on Wednesday the aim of the one-day strike planned for Friday is for employers immediately to address policy issues contributing to the rising cost of living for workers.
Workers in SA, with the exception of essential services, will be able to strike on Friday after Cosatu received a Section 77 strike notice to protest against the state of public transport in SA.
Cosatu is concerned that e-tolls have replaced the commitment to develop integrated public transport. Fragmented public transport networks mean the majority of workers spend more than 20% of their salary getting to and from work, Cosatu spokesman Sizwe Pamla said in a statement.
The march will also protest against unemployment and related socioeconomic conditions, including free education, in commemoration of International Decent Work Day, Cosatu said.
“This march will be about demanding that employers deal with the economic and employment crisis or face the wrath of the workers. If the South African economy fails to work for the workers, workers will ensure that it does not work for anyone,” Pamla said.
Business Unity SA (Busa) has expressed concern that the strike based on public transport issues could spill over into unprocedural protest action.
Noting that Cosatu’s application was based on a protest over public transport, Busa warned on Tuesday that protest that went beyond could damage investor sentiment.
Cosatu said on Wednesday that time was running out for the government to begin implementing a developmental state, saying it was “happy with the response from the workers” and could “safely say that workers are ready to send a clear message to both government and big business that the status quo is unacceptable”.
“It is unacceptable that the taxpayers’ money is spent to cater to the comfort of the elite, such as the building and expansion of Gautrain, including the construction of bicycle lanes all over the country, particularly where the white elite resides,” Cosatu said.