Cosatu has cast doubt over the jobs summit agreements , saying that the country’s leaders needed to ask whether they were “worth the paper written on them” in light of continued mass retrenchments.
The federation said it was concerned that soon after the jobs summit resolutions were made by business, then government and labour to explore all options to prevent retrenchments in light of rising unemployment levels, job losses had continued unabated.
The government committed it would not effect retrenchments in the public sector, while business said it would do its best to prevent job losses at the October presidential jobs summit.
However, after state-owned companies such as the SABC announced large-scale retrenchments and some private companies such as Standard Bank going the same route, Cosatu said workers would have to weigh up whether to keep having faith in the summit framework or “continue to fight," the federation’s first deputy president Mike Shingange told journalists.
Standard Bank announced in November that it intended to retrench 500 workers.
Cosatu said it would embark on a fightback campaign against job losses, starting with an anti-retrenchments national strike planned for February 13 2019.
“We have exhausted our process of engagement and now what is left for us is to fight. It is not acceptable that the private sector is not using the tax breaks of 2012/13 to save jobs but have used them to maximise profits and replace workers with machines,” the federation’s general secretary, Bheki Ntshalintshali said.
Cosatu said workers’ demands, including job security fears, must be addressed in the ANC elections manifesto.
The governing party, which is in a tripartite alliance with Cosatu and the SA Communist Party, has embarked on an extensive consultation process with communities across the country as it drafts its electioneering manifesto, a suite of policy proposals meant to woo voters.
The central executive committee of Cosatu has also expressed concerns about what it described as “dangers and weaknesses” which continue to haunt the ANC. It said the party lacked coherent political content and direction, which led to the ANC “engaging in mechanical strategies”.
However, Cosatu emphasised it would support the ANC during the 2019 elections and that its affiliates would make resources available to ensure that the party won the polls.