Cosatu members protest in this file photo. Picture: REUTERS
Cosatu members protest in this file photo. Picture: REUTERS

Hundreds of Cosatu members have gathered in different cities across the country for Wednesday’s protests against job losses.

The National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) granted the federation a Section 77 strike certificate, meaning all workers taking part in the one-day strike are protected.

Cosatu said the demonstrations, which will affect traffic in major streets in at least eight central business districts, are just the start of a mass campaign the organisation is waging against retrenchments and unemployment.

“Close to 10-million South Africans are unemployed, while the struggling economy has seen thousands of workers laid off in spite of existing agreements between the government, business and labour that retrenchments would be minimised,” Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said. 

“The fight against job losses means the workers must have a direct say in how the economy is managed and restructured. We understand the enormous responsibility that faces us because the economic forces of crisis and stagnation are deeply rooted. 

Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali. Picture: SOWETAN
Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali. Picture: SOWETAN

“Only profound economic restructuring and the forging of new strategies for growth and development will solve these problems.” 

The federation will also use the marches to different legislatures and business councils to reject the government’s plan to unbundle Eskom, splitting it into three entities.

The Minerals Council SA has warned that Wednesday’s action will have a negative impact on gold mining, while businesses also fears major losses due to limited productivity.

The strike against business and the ANC-led government also comes just a few months before the national elections.

Cosatu resolved, at its national congress in 2018, that it would campaign for the ANC ahead of the polls and encourage their members to vote for the party. However, this week, the federation’s Gauteng leaders said this decision could be reviewed in light of the government’s alleged continued non-prioritisation of workers’ issues.