8 October, 2020Thousands of workers took to the streets of South Africa’s main cities and towns to protest corruption, gender-based violence, and to protect jobs and collective bargaining agreements from arrogant employers.
The national strike, on 7 October, which coincided with World Day for Decent Work, was called by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) with support from the other main federations: the Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA), the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU), and the National Council of Trade Unions (NACTU).
IndustriALL Global Union’s five affiliates in South Africa belong to three of the federations. The combined membership of the federations represents millions of workers. The unions say the law should be used to deal with corruption through prosecution, and anti-corruption strategies should be put in place.
The unions wanted an end to gender-based violence and for the government to ratify Convention 190 on curbing violence and harassment at work, and to develop an implementation plan. The gender pay gap must also be closed.
On health and safety, unions want employers to comply with labour laws and not leave the burden on workers and their families.
André Kriel, SACTWU general secretary said:“The COSATU strike is significant because it is unifying. It confirms concretely that all South African workers, irrespective of union federation affiliation, are crystal clear about common core issues which they must fight in the current conjuncture: corruption in the public and private sector, job losses, attacks on collective bargaining and gender-based violence”.
IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches said:“We are in solidarity with the millions of South African workers who are fighting for jobs, against gender-based violence, and for the protection of collective bargaining. These are issues at the core of union activities, and employers should not be allowed to destroy what the union has gained through years of struggle.”
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