Taking COSATU Today Forward, 5 October 2021

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Norman Mampane

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Oct 5, 2021, 8:56:26 AMOct 5
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COSATU TODAY

#Cosatu declares its readiness for the massive legal and protected #NationalStrike on October 7

#CosatuOctober7NationalStrike  

#WDDW2021 

Taking COSATU Today Forward

‘Whoever sides with the revolutionary people in deed as well as in word is a revolutionary in the full sense’-Maoo

 

DSCN0489 cut.jpg

Our side of the story

Tuesday, 5 October 2021


Deepen the Back to Basics Campaign, Consolidate the Struggle for the NDR and Advance the Struggle for Socialism’

Join COSATU Now

Fight against intransigence of employers who do not register workers with UIF at all workplaces!

Mobilize against #COVID19 infections Now!

Fight for #DecentWork Now

We shall overcome!

Contents                      

o   Workers Parliament: Back to Basics!

  • COSATU statement on the upcoming Socio-economic strike on Thursday 
  • COSATU in the North-West Province calls on all workers and working-class communities to march against widespread corruption, retrenchments, gender-based violence, non-adherence to occupational health and safety and attacks on collective bargaining
  • SAMWU welcomes the appointment of Mxolisi Dukwana as FS COGTA MEC

o   South Africa

  • SADTU Statement on World Teachers’ Day

o   International-Workers’ Solidarity!

Ø  Repression of independent trade unions continues in Algeria

Workers’ Parliament-Back2Basics

COSATU statement on the upcoming Socio-economic strike on Thursday 

Sizwe Pamla, Cosatu National Spokesperson, 05 October 2021 

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is finalising and intensifying its national mobilisation efforts in the build-up to the upcoming socio-economic national strike set to take place on Thursday, the 07th of October 2021- the Global Day for Decent Work.  

The Federation is issuing a call to all workers and South Africans to join the strike on Thursday. They can either join the planned activities across the country or withdraw their labour by staying at home on the day. 

The strike on Thursday is legally protected and is focused on pushing both government and the private sector to act to fix the economic mess that the country finds itself in, and take seriously the issues that are affecting workers and South Africans in general. 

We remind workers that this strike is taking place under COVID-19 restrictions, and we urge all our members and the broader society to continue to take precautions. We encourage them to vaccinate because this pandemic can only be defeated through unity and cooperation. 

COVID-19 has become the greatest challenge of our generation and if we do not work together, it has the potential to be the single biggest reversal in the history of human development. 

On Thursday, we shall be demanding urgent action from policymakers in government and decision-makers in the private sector to stop the attacks that are directed at workers. Both the public and the private sector have been blatantly undermining collective bargaining. 

We want the reversal of budget cuts that have led to an unacceptable wage freeze in the public service, the disintegration of the CCMA, and retrenchments in State-Owned Companies. 

We will also be calling on the private sector to abandon its investment strike that has seen many companies either hoarding or exporting cash out of the country, despite receiving generous incentives to invest back into the economy. This year billions were given away in tax cuts when that money could have been used to increase government spending. 

Instead of clearly indicating that the rich must bear the burden of fixing the government’s balance sheet after decades of rising profits, in a country which is the most unequal in the world and whose inequality is grossly racialised - the government is going back to attacking the public service, at the time when there is a need to build the capacity of the state to accelerate delivery. 

Workers reject the current arrangement of a corporate welfare state that continues to take resources from the poor to support corporations without any set conditions. Tax breaks and other generous incentives are given to the private sector without the private sector delivering anything in return. 

Since the onset of the current COVID-19 inspired capitalist crisis, the ruling elites have imposed extreme sacrifices upon the workers. Both government and the private sector expect our members to make sacrifices for an economic crisis that has been compounded by corruption and mismanagement. This is totally unacceptable. 

The biggest huddle in fixing South Africa’s myriad of problems is the inefficiency of the state and the scourge of corruption in both the public and the private sector. Corruption in the private sector has seen price gouging in many sectors of the economy like retail and pharmaceutical sectors, therefore, compounding existing inequality and poverty. 

Private sector cartels have stolen billions of rands from businesses, taxpayers, and ultimately from consumers. They have distorted economic markets and have strangled competition.  

If there is no change in the country’s economic policy direction, the already low standards of living of working people will deteriorate significantly. More livelihoods will be destroyed by the resultant deepening turmoil.  

It is disgraceful that with no reduction in unemployment and with economic activity deteriorating year after year; Neoliberal die-hards in government continue to push government to persist in its rigid targets of budget deficit, public debt, and inflation rate – in a misguided hope that the applauding private sector would step in.  

All this pulling back on spending by government at a time when there is a down-turn in the economy, exposes the fallacy of the Treasury’s claim that it is pursuing a counter-cyclical fiscal policy - by which it means that when growth is strong government reduces spending or saves so that it can spend aggressively when the economy is declining.  

It’s a fallacy because the current economic decline calls for an aggressive fiscal stance, as reflected in the fact that gross domestic expenditure and household consumption are at their lowest since 2011, real unemployment stands at 45%. 

Next month, when the 2022 MTBPS is presented, we demand the abandonment of the current draconian cuts. Government needs to move away from the current Neoliberal macroeconomic policy framework and to introduce strong interventionist measures in the economy in line with our perspective of a progressive developmental state.  

It is also disheartening that government is reacting to the COVID-19 inspired economic crisis by going back to the old logic of GEAR, in the sense that it is selling some of its state-owned companies like SAA and unbundling Transnet to prepare for its privatisation.  

A question needs to be asked as to what type of a “capable” developmental state is being built, when some of its assets are due to be stripped and its capacity to deliver services to the masses is set to be reduced or weakened further 

We are now convinced that these entities are deliberately mismanaged to justify their partial or full-blown privatisation when the costs of fixing them become too high. 

These challenges face all workers and not just COSATU members and we therefore invite all trade union federations and the unorganised workers to join the strike on Thursday.  

Workers need to unite and take the lead in the fight against this looming collapse and push back against private sector greed and the mismanagement of the country by government.  

We are fully behind the unity shown by the unions in the mining sector (the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), Solidarity and UASA) who are cooperating in negotiating with Sibanye. We encourage them to protect their unity and fight without any fear or favour.

We also offer our support and solidarity to the workers affiliated with the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) in the metals and engineering sector who are fighting for an 8% wage increase.

Our failure to take a stand and defend the interests of our members in the face of this economic mismanagement would represent the worse form of cowardice that we would live to regret. 

Issued by COSATU 

_________

COSATU in the North-West Province calls on all workers and working-class communities to march against widespread corruption, retrenchments, gender-based violence, non-adherence to occupational health and safety and attacks on collective bargaining

Kopano Konopi, COSATU North-West Provincial Secretary, 05 October 2021

Covid-19 in South Africa helped to bring to the fore the ugly reality of kind of untransformed society that we live in.  It exposed the reality that we live in a society where the majority of our people – women, workers and blacks in particular, are living extreme poverty, high unemployment and racial inequalities. 

The extreme poverty, high unemployment and racial inequalities are a reflection of the persisting structural fault-lines of the inherited legacy of apartheid and class, racial and gender contradictions post the 1994 democratic breakthrough. The apartheid spartial economic development system still remains in place.

Workers are not spared from these realities despite the fact that they are the producers of wealth in our economy. 

This is the reason COSATU in the North-West is calling on all workers and working-class communities to join it in the fight against monstrous issues affecting them. 

These are wide-spread Corruption, Retrenchments and Job Losses, jobless economic growth, Gender-Based Violence, Health and Safety in the workplace, Attacks on Collective Bargaining, Drug peddling and abuse, Unsafe Communities and Investment Strike.  These need the attention and interventions of the state, business and civil society.

As a result, on Thursday, 07 October 2021, COSATU in the North-West province, as part of COSATU nationally, will take to the streets in Klerksdorp, Mahikeng and Rustenburg to deliver memorandums of demands related to the issues mentioned above. 

These marches are scheduled as follows:

Mafikeng:  The marchers gather at Montshioa Stadium from 09H00.  We move from the stadium from 10H00 and then join Robert Sobukwe Road and then join Dr James Moroka.  The memorandum of demands will be handed over to all recipients at the parking next to the Mmabatho Convention Centre.

Rustenburg: The marchers gather at the Rustenburg Taxi Rank from 09H00.  The march will leave the taxi rank at 10H00 and then join O.R. Tambo Street and then join Dr Beyers Naude Road.  The memorandum of demands will be handed over to all recipients at the Rustenburg Municipal Offices.

Klerksdorp: The marchers gather at the Medical Centre from 09H00.  The march will leave the Medical Centre at 10H00 and then join O.R. Tambo Street and then join Voortrekker Road until corner Voortrekker Road and Anderson Street.  The memorandum of demands will be handed over to all recipients at the Pelser Building in front of the Department of Employment and Labour offices.

The 07th of October is World Day for Decent Work and in South Africa, COSATU commemorates this day in the form of a National Day of Action.

We must rush to indicate that the National Day of Action is the day COSATU chose to embark on a national strike for the issues mentioned above.  This means that workers should not go to work on that day but should attend to the marches organised in the three cities mentioned above. 

No employer will dismiss or take disciplinary action against any worker for not reporting to work on that day as the strike is LEGAL and PROTECTED.

Workers of all categories are called upon to respect themselves so that employers can respect them by exercising their hard-won right to participate in a LEGAL and PROTECTED strike. 

No amount of intimidation from employers should scare workers from participating in the marches organised by their Federation – COSATU.

We will fiercely defend every worker who was part of the strike and faces intimidation from any unscrupulous employer.

Our strike action on Thursday, 07 October 2021 will be joined by our allies – the African National Congress, South African Communist Party and South African National Civic Organisation. 

We are not limiting our invitation to our alliance partners only but invite all other unions and federations of workers to join us in the strike against the monsters that threaten our livelihoods.

CALLING ALL WORKERS TO THE FRONTLINE!

_________

SAMWU welcomes the appointment of Mxolisi Dukwana as FS COGTA MEC.

Tiisetso Mahlatsi, SAMWU North West Provincial Secretary, 05 October 2021

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) in the Free State notes and welcomes the appointment of Mxollisi Dukwana as a member of the Free State Provincial Legislature. We further congratulate Mr. Dukwana on his appointment as Member of Executive Council (MEC) responsible for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) which is the general overseer of municipalities in the province. 

We particularly are thankful to the Provincial Government as led by the Premier for having seen the need to restructure the COGTA department which has in the past been neglected municipalities resulting in the fragmentation and collapse in service delivery through the province. 

As per the state of local government barometer released by the National COGTA department in June this year, of the 23 municipalities in the province, 11 are dysfunctional while a further 11 are on the brink of dysfunctionality with only one municipality being classified as low risk. Some of the barometers to measure the stability of municipalities include political oversight and proper provisions of service delivery to our communities and maladministration. The identified dysfunctional municipalities include the Mangaung Metro, Matjhabeng, Maluti-a-phofung, Metsimaholo and Ditlabeng Local Municipalities. 

The barometer by COGTA is vindictive of the call that we as SAMWU have been making for a long time that municipalities in the province are being neglected and as such they are doomed to fail hence the need for the Provincial Government to immediately intervene to quickly arrest the root causes that have resulted in municipalities failing on their constitutional mandate.

Of great concern to us is the fact that the negligence of the province’s municipalities have created a situation wherein municipalities are deliberately overlooking interventions of the Provincial Government and the National Council of Provinces wherein recommendations and reports highlighting the corruption in municipalities have been hidden away from the public. 

We expect the new MEC to correct the wrong doings in that department and withdraw the unlawful secondment of acting municipal managers in municipalities as well as the intervention in terms of section 139 of the Constitution in all the municipalities that have been identified by national COGTA as being dysfunctional. 

The MEC and his department as provided for in the Municipal Systems Act are supposed to ensure that municipalities employ qualified and skilled senior managers and enforce compliance of legislation to the latter. 

We therefore expect the MEC to act responsibly and accordingly by ensuring that those who failed in enforcing compliance with legislation are dealt with through the prescripts of the law. We are sitting with senior managers who doesn’t meet required academic records and experience and no concurrence issued. Unfortunately these are the abnormalities that are bestowed and expected to be corrected by the incoming MEC.

In enforcing compliance in municipalities, the MEC should as a matter of priority deal with the issue of a Provincial COGTA HOD who has been appointed without clear terms in the contract of employment, an HOD who has played a major role in destabilising the province’s municipalities. 

In welcoming Mr Dukwana who by the way has several years as a legislator in the province, we call on him to show leadership and quickly attend to the root causes of the collapse and dysfuctionality of almost 50% of the province’s municipalities. 

As SAMWU, we will immediately be writing to the MEC to seek an audience with him with regards to 13 workers that have been dismissed in Fezile Dabi District Municipality and the 33 dismissed at the Moqhaka Local Municipality in 2017 and 2019 respectively for raising issues of corruption in their municipalities. 

We will also need the MEC to address the failure by most municipalities in the province to pay workers’ salaries on time, including the payments of third parties such as pension funds medical aid and funeral policies, this with particular attention paid to Kopanong Local Municipality whose account has now been attached by a pension fund for failure to pay over monies deducted from workers. 

SAMWU remains committed to support and work with the department to clean the local government which remains the coalface of service delivery for residents. We will therefore be supporting the MEC and the Department in ensuring that municipalities are returned to normality and that residents do get the much needed services. 

Issued by SAMWU Free State

South Africa

SADTU Statement on World Teachers’ Day

Mugwena Maluleke, SADTU General Secretary, 4 October 2021

“Teachers at the heart of education recovery”

The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU), the largest union in the education and public service sectors, pays homage to all teachers, lecturers in institutions of higher learning, Early Childhood Development practitioners, education support personnel and her members in particular as the world commemorates World Teachers’ Day on 05 October.

The day celebrates the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers which sets standards regarding the rights and responsibilities of teachers and the standards for their initial training and further education, recruitment, employment, and teaching and learning conditions. In 1997, the Recommendation was amended to cover the status of teaching personnel in higher education.

The day speaks to a massive token of the mindfulness, comprehension and thankfulness showed for the fundamental commitment that educators make by teaching.

We are celebrating World Teachers’ Day, for the second time in a row, under a dark cloud of the devastating COVID 19 pandemic that caused untold disruptions to schooling, economy and life in general. In the first year of the pandemic alone, 1 650 teachers lost their lives and dozens more continue to die.

The theme for this year’s celebration, “Teachers at the heart of education recovery” places a heavy load on the shoulders of teachers who are still grappling with the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic.

SADTU takes off her hat to the teachers for the role they have played in ensuring that education continues under these trying times. They have had to adapt to new ways of teaching using online platforms to reach their learners; they have had to be counsellors to their learners who have lost their parents and teachers; they have had to be safety officers to ensure their schools comply with the health and safety guidelines in order to save their lives as well as those of learners; they have had to sacrifice their precious time with families teaching during weekends and holidays to make up for the lost time.

They are indeed at the heart of education recovery.

For this year’s theme (Teachers at the heart of education recovery) to become a reality, SADTU is calling for increased investment in the well-being, training, professional development and working conditions of teachers to recover the learning losses and to adapt to new ways of teaching and learning that have to contend with the pandemic.

We need education for our economy to recover. For South Africa to be more productive, we need more educated workers, government has to invest in human resource development and teachers are crucial in producing that educated and skilled workforce.

We celebrate this day under a heavy cloud of austerity measures that have threatened the stability of the education system until the union challenged the government in particular in the KwaZulu Natal (KZN).

The union made sure that no educator or education personnel would lose their jobs in KZN.

As we celebrate this teachers’ day, SADTU is fully aware of the task at hand to ensure that the gains we have made to safeguard the Status of Teachers as per the 1966 Recommendation are adhered to. We are therefore going to heed the call by our union federation, COSATU to take part in marches across the country on 7 October to make our voice heard against the austerity measures, rising unemployment, safety in workplaces, gender-based violence and many other ills affecting workers.

The country needs more teachers, more resources, more training and better working conditions for teachers. Quality education for all is the only sustainable way of recovery where the teachers are at the centre.

We therefore demand that education be classified as an emergency in order to release the required financial relief required for an inclusive and sustainable recovery.

Join the motorcades organised by the COSATU on the 7th October 2021.

Let’s defend our revolution and deepen democracy.

Aluta Continua! Happy World Teachers’ Day.

ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat

International #Solidarity

Repression of independent trade unions continues in Algeria

30 September, 2021

IndustriALL’s third Congress passed a resolution condemning the repression of free trade unions in Algeria, and calling for the release of all pro-democracy activists, in particular trade unionist Ramzi Dardar.

In Algeria, a campaign for democracy and fundamental human rights called the Hirak – the word means “movement” in Arabic - has peacefully protested since February 2019. Free and democratic unions, including IndustriALL Global Union affiliates SNATEG and UAI, have been at the forefront of this movement.

The Algerian government has responded with harsh attacks on Hirak activists, and particularly trade union leaders. Algeria’s independent, democratic trade union movement bears the brunt of ongoing state, political, police, administrative and judicial repression, ignoring observations from the ILO Committee of Experts in February 2020, with increasing numbers of trade unionists harassed or imprisoned.

Most recently, trade union leader Ramzi Dardar from IndustriALL affiliate Union Algérienne des Industries (UAI) was arrested on 30 June 2021. He is accused of terrorism, undermining the morale of the army and undermining national unity through his publications on social networks. On 18 July 2021, the court confirmed the judge’s order and Ramzi was sent to Batna prison.

IndustriALL, together with other global unions, appealed to the ILO to urgently intervene with the Algerian government to demand his immediate release and for all charges to be dropped. The Algerian government responded by transferring Dardar to a prison block for death row inmates and terrorism defendants on 2 August. A trial date has still not been set. His physical and mental health are deteriorating.

The resolution was introduced at IndustriALL’s third Congress on 15 September by exiled SNATEG activist Raouf Mellal, who spoke of his experience of violent arrest and repression that led to him seeking asylum in Switzerland.Congress

He said:

"The outcome of judicial, police, and administrative repression over the past two years is staggering, represented by the thousands sacked and arrested, and hundreds imprisoned because of posts on social media...

The military regime in Algeria has is accusing  democratic unionists of terrorism. This is a dangerous escalation after it  previously accused us of slandering institutions or inciting gatherings and strikes. Perhaps the best example of what is happening to dozens of trade unionists in Algeria is what is happening to our colleague Ramzi Dardar, who was imprisoned in August on charges of joining a terrorist organization.

"So, dear comrades, I appeal to you to support the urgent draft resolution condemning what the military rule is doing in Algeria and to support us in consecrating trade union rights, resinstating all those who wee sacked, and releasing all prisoners."

The resolution, which was passed, says:

  • Strongly condemns the Algerian government’s continuous criminalization of the right to organize and to perform trade union activities, as well as the repression against free and democratic trade unions;
  • Urges the Algerian government to comply with the resolutions of the ILO Committee on the Application of Standards and Conventions to stop violating ratified international conventions;
  • Expresses its solidarity and support for the Algerian movement for democracy and the free and democratic trade unions, in particular its affiliates UAI and SNATEG;
  • Calls on the Algerian government to release immediately all Hirak movement activists and trade union leaders, in particular Ramzi Dardar.

__________________________

Norman Mampane (Shopsteward Editor)

Congress of South African Trade Unions

110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Street, Braamfontein, 2017

P.O.Box 1019, Johannesburg, 2000, South Africa

Tel: +27 11 339-4911 Direct line: 010 219-1348

 

                                             

 

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