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Government has 14 days to respond to unions’ demands

Following the protest on Wednesday.
Workers are demanding a 5.4% wage increase. Image: Moneyweb

The country’s largest unions, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), have given government 14 days to respond to their demands.

On Wednesday the labour unions embarked on a national protest against corruption, unemployment, and gender-based violence as well as the government not agreeing to this year’s public sector’s wage.

They say if the government fails to respond in time to the demands, more mass action is on the cards.

Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla says it was a successful day because droves of people hit the streets to join the protest.

“We are more than happy with the turnout. Members did not go to work in their numbers, and they were well behaved,” says Pamla.

“We got a lot of support from other labour formations and this gives us a solid foundation to plot our pushback going forward.”

Government ‘must honour’ wage increase agreement

The majority of those who took to the streets are public servants who expressed distress at having to cope with their existing salaries despite the increased cost of living.

In 2018 the state agreed to hike their wages by up to 5.4% this year, then made a u-turn on the agreement for the next four years.

This was at the centre of the strike because for the past two years the government has honoured the agreement.

“The South African government is honouring all its debt obligations and [its obligations] to its service providers, while the workers are at the bottom of the barrel. In the last five years, the Auditor-General said 10% of the budget goes to the government,” Pamla says.

Pamla says he feels that public servants are being targeted and sidelined, as the government has been continuously providing state-owned entities with financial bailouts, but fails to honour its increment agreement with the workers.

“Anything that is being currently presented [within government] does not make any sense for public servants,” he says. “When we went to lockdown it was this same public that was expected to hold the fort, and now we have forgotten them.”

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Govt has no choice but to bring the public sector wage bill down by at least one third.

fear not. Publuc servants are the voting base of the ANC and the government will most likely come to their rescue.

The 2 to 3 million workers who have lost their jobs due to the lockdowns – not the virus – well, the ANC doesn’t care a fig for these people; wringing its hands instead over a few thousand job losses in SAA.

The ANC wanted the economy destroyed s that it could be rebuilt in a socialist nirvana. That nirvana has now arrived and guess what? There’s no cash available to fund any of it

…except there’s R4-8 trillion (depending on what source one uses) of seemingly ‘idle’ Retirement/Pension funds pot available.

Pension capital will be able to fund (or ‘carry’ a better choice of word) the wastage and inefficiencies of the artificially created AA/BEE/Transformation agenda well into the next decade.

Unfortunately 🙁

And why aren’t the unions running programs to teach their members to budget and save? The rest of us have to live within our means?

…agree 110%. The 40% unemployed survive on scraps, yet over-paid (for what they worth) union members cry poverty.

What fort did public servants hold? They disappeared at the start of lockdown and most government departments are still not working at full capacity.

…didn’t realize they are “working” 😉

I am sorry I cannot sympathize with government employees. There is a complete lack of service ethic respect and decency when dealing with any government department I have encountered. Service and pride is not something synonymous with any government department. (Sure it’s generally speaking).

I have encountered a far greater % of government & municipal workers that provide service with a smirk “a don’t want this job” attitude, than otherwise the case.

“Service and Pride”? (…mostly found in Japanese culture)

No Doubt the EFF will offer them a Guaranteed 10pct p.a increase and end up getting their votes !

Dear unions,

What about the 40% of UNEMPLOYED in SA??

(those that HAVE work…strike. If the unemployed can live of scraps, surely paid union members are well off in comparison. You are “the rich” to the unemployed)

Wake up cosatu, YOU COMMUNISTS ARE THE GOVERNMENT…..careful, you only have two feet to shoot holes in and one expired today!

When too much power is vested in destructive, unaccountable elements like the unions you get the South African economy. When done right, such as in Sweden, unions can create win-win partnerships with employers and industry. Why can’t our unions learn from other countries?

Sweden’s unions are not full of tribal factions and otherwise unemployable cadres.

End of comments.

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