Taking COSATU Today Forward, 1 October 2021

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Norman Mampane

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Oct 1, 2021, 4:42:10 AMOct 1
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COSATU TODAY

#Cosatu affiliated trade unions scheduled to participate on World Day of Decent Work activities in South Africa

#October7 

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

Friday, 1 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!

We shall overcome!

Contents                      

o   Workers Parliament: Back to Basics!

  • SAMWU post CEC Statement
  • SAMWU mass protest at Cape Town Civic Centre over wage increases

o   South Africa

  • COSATU urges all workers and South Africans to support the national Vooma Vaccine weekend starting today 
  • COSATU statement on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s latest updates in the fight against COVID-19 
  • NEHAWU Statement on Government’s decision to move the Country to Adjusted Alert Level 1

o   International-Workers’ Solidarity!

  • Germany ratifies the Maternity Protection Convention

Workers’ Parliament-Back2Basics

SAMWU post CEC Statement

 

Dumisane Magagula, SAMWU General Secretary, 30 September 2021

The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMWU) held a successful ordinary Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting from the 27th to the 29th September 2021 in Johannesburg to take stock on the progress made in implementing resolutions of the 12th National Congress, dealing with organisational issues including the filling of the vacancy of General Secretary.

 

On Local Government Elections

 

The CEC was addressed by alliance structures, the ANC, represented by the Head of Presidency, Sibongile Besani, the SACP represented by the 1st Deputy General Secretary, Solly Mapaila and COSATU represented by President Zingiswa Losi.

 

The CEC noted that the country will be holding the Local Government elections on the 1st of November this year and reflected on the Congress resolution with regards to the union’s position towards the elections including the resolution of our federation COSATU on the same. While the CEC was in session, the ANC launched its election manifesto in Pretoria. The CEC congratulates the ANC on presenting a well crafted plan for the country’s municipalities.

 

In as much as SAMWU as an affiliate of COSATU and informed by the CEC resolutions of COSATU will support the ANC in these elections, we still need the ANC to address issues that are of great concern to our members, and communities. These includes the unlawful dismissal of workers, the failure to pay workers their salaries in time or in full and the general collapse in municipalities.

 

Before we are municipal workers, we are community members and as such, we too want to benefit from the delivery of services.

 

It is for this reason that the CEC is deeply concerned by the number of municipalities which are struggling to deliver on their constitutional mandate of the delivery of services to residents. We therefore want immediate intervention in these municipalities with the aim of arresting the root causes of the systematic collapse in these institutions.

 

On Covid-19

 

We note that the country and the world are still battling with the Covid-19 pandemic, this has resulted in millions of deaths globally while in South Africa, almost 3 million cases have been recorded and over 87 000 South Africans losing their lives. We send our condolences to the families of those who have lost their loved ones and further wish speedy recovery to those currently battling the virus.

 

We applaud and appreciate the great work that has been done by government in rolling out the vaccination programme throughout the country. This massive programme has seen over 16 million vaccines being administered while over 8 million South Africans are now fully vaccinated against the virus.

 

We should however lament the fact that when the roll out programme began, municipal workers were not mentioned anywhere, but these same workers were declared essential workers during the lockdowns.

 

It can’t be correct that this sector is only considered an essential service by convenience. The local government sector is an essential sector and as such was supposed to have been prioritised when the roll out began.

 

The vaccine has been proven to reduce the risk of hospitalisation and even death if one contracts the virus. We therefore encourage municipal workers to get vaccinated in their numbers. As much as this programme should be purely on a voluntary basis.

 

We should however as a trade union play a role in demystifying the myths around the virus and the vaccines, government should also play a major role in ensuring that it develops a communications plan that is targeted at vaccine hesitancy and the false information that is spread around.

 

On Collective Bargaining

 

The CEC received a report on the recently concluded salary and wage collective agreements in both the Amanzi Bargaining Council (ABC) and the South African Local Government Bargaining Council (SALGBC). The CEC noted and welcomed the reports on both agreements.

 

These negotiations were characterised by an attack on collective bargaining captained by the National Treasury wherein municipalities were advised to budget a zero % salary increase for the country’s municipal workers, an advise which many municipalities including City of Tswane and City of Cape Town took into consideration when in presenting their budgets for this financial year.

 

The South African Local Government Association as the employer body in the local government sector also took advice from the National Treasury’s advise of cost curtailment by wanting to introduce a freeze in notches and benefits in all the years of the agreement, including an offer of CPI less than average CPI in the 2nd and 3rd year of the agreement. 

 

The CEC further noted and welcomed the fact that these negotiations have paved way for the implementation of the SAMWU 11th National Congress resolution on the absorption of EPWP workers in municipalities. Parties in the SALGBC have agreed on an investigation into the employability of EPWP and CWP workers by municipalities.

 

As the CEC, we have noted that some municipalities have already made known their intentions to apply to be exempted from the recently concluded SALGBC agreement. The DA-led City of Cape Town has already written to workers informing them that they will not be getting their salary increases in the month of October as per the salary and wage agreement.

 

We cannot let the gains that we have won for workers be reversed, these are workers who have throughout  the pandemic ensured that they continually deliver services to residents without fail. These are workers who have lost colleagues that contracted the virus in the workplace as a result of the employers’ failure to adhere to the Department of Labour Regulations and the Disaster Management Act.

 

We therefore cannot allow municipal workers to forego their salary increases by municipalities that seek to use the pandemic as a scapegoat.  Any municipality that applies for exemption would have declared war with workers.

 

As SAMWU, we expect all 257 municipalities and their entities to pay workers their increases along with their salaries in the month of October. The attempts that we are seeing from these municipalities are a direct attack on collective bargaining and workers’ rights. We will not fold our arms and allow the onslaught on collective bargaining.

 

The union will remain vigilant and jealously guard collective bargaining. Collective bargaining is a product of the blood and sweat of our forebears, they would never rest in peace if allow this onslaught to continue unchallenged.

 

On organisational 

 

The CEC appreciated the work that has been done by the SAMWU National Office Bearers and those of COSATU in ensuring that the union is returned to its good standing status as per the resolution of the 12th National Congress.

 

We therefore encourage all our members to go and actively participate in all activities of COSATU including the local elections that are currently ongoing.

 

A vacancy within Secretariat was created by the passing away of the union’s former General Secretary, Comrade Koena Ramotlou earlier this year. The CEC unanimously agreed to elect the Deputy General Secretary, Comrade Dumisane Magagula to the position of the General Secretary.

 

Issued by SAMWU Secretariat

_________

SAMWU mass protest at Cape Town Civic Centre over wage increases

Mikel Kumalo, SAMWU Cape Metro Regional Secretary, 1 October 2021

The South African Municipal Workers' Union (SAMWU) Cape Metro Region will lead a Protest Demonstration at the Cape Town Civic Centre in protest against the City of Cape Town’s intransigence to implement the 3.5% wage increase that was supposed to kick in this month.

“Instead of implementing the wage increase as agreed to at South African Local Government Bargaining Council a few weeks ago, the City of Cape Town instead opted to apply for a waiver to the three year wage determination agreed to at the SALGBC,” says Mike Khumalo, Samwu Cape Town Regional Secretary.

“This is clearly a declaration of war against Cape Town municipal workers and the working class, who are suffering under escalating high prices, increased municipal rates, rent and exorbitant water charges, that this same City is levying against its workers”.

Samwu is ready to go to war, if that is what the City wants, and we are starting on Saturday October 2 at the Civic Centre in defence of the rights and living standards of our members.

PROTEST DEMONSTRATION

Saturday October 2, 2021 11am
Cape Town Civic Centre

--ENDS—

ISSUED BY: SAMWU Cape Metro

________

The four trade unions - AMCU, NUM SOLIDARITY and UASA - will this coming Friday co-host a joint press conference to pronounce on way forward concerning the latest Sibanye-Stillwaters' refusal to meet workers wage demands 

The four unions (AMCU, NUM,SOLIDARITY AND UASA) are united in their view that Sibanye-Stillwater should accede to workers' demand of an increase of R1 500 per year for the next three years. Alternatively, Sibanye-Stillwater should benchmark their offer on the recent wage agreement signed with Harmony Gold. 

DETAILS OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE ARE AS FOLLOWS: 

Venue: Birchwood Conference Centre, Boksburg 

Date: 1 October 2021 

Time: 11 am 

All members of the media houses are invited to attend the joint press conference.

For more information, please contact: 

Jimmy Gama, AMCU Treasurer-General, 066 392 1167 William Mabapa, NUM Acting General Secretary, 082 880 4439 Gideon Du Plessis, Solidarity General Secretary, 082 776 6417 Franz Sterhring, UASA The Divisional Manager, 082 806 5164

South Africa

COSATU urges all workers and South Africans to support the national Vooma Vaccine weekend starting today 

Sizwe Pamla, Cosatu National Spokesperson, 30 September 2021 

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) urges all workers and their families to support the national Vooma vaccine weekend Friday 1st – Saturday 2nd October 2021. This is a national campaign that will take place at vaccination sites in all municipalities across the country. 

Currently, there are over 87 000 South Africans who have succumbed to the deadly COVID-19, while many have lost jobs, businesses and wages. 

COVID-19 remains a deadly threat that needs to be taken seriously by all South Africans. The Federation supports the various interventions government has implemented to manage this deadly pandemic. These include non-pharmaceutical interventions like the wearing of masks, sanitising and social distancing. 

These interventions though can only take us so far, which is why it is important for South Africans to vaccinate. These vaccines have been proven to be highly effective in protecting people from being infected, transmitting the virus, becoming seriously ill, and most critically from dying. 

We salute government for working hard to secure the supply of vaccines and putting in place the logistics for every South African to access these vaccines. 

Millions of workers and South Africans have already been vaccinated. 

What is worrying tough is an increase in vaccine hesitancy amongst some South Africans.  The daily average vaccine rate has declined from over 250 000 to 150 000.  This places in serious danger the national target of ensuring that over 70% of the population is immunised by the end of 2021.   

As a country, we need to ensure that the daily vaccination rate is doubled and we urge workers to seek more information about the vaccines if they have any doubt. COSATU and its Affiliates are putting structures in place to help fight misinformation and help mobilise every worker to be vaccinated.   

COSATU’s recent Central Committee issued a call for all its affiliated unions to ensure that at least 80% of our members are vaccinated by the end of 2021. 

The Federation, therefore, welcomes the national vooma vaccine weekend starting tomorrow -Friday 1st October 2021.

We are encouraging everyone who has not vaccinated yet to do so this weekend.   

Vaccine sites will be open across the country and on-site registration will be done.  The vaccines are safe and effective, and ensuring every person is vaccinated is critical to saving lives, to saving jobs and ensuring the economy can re-emerge safely. 

It is all in our hands! 

Issued by COSATU 

____________

COSATU statement on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s latest updates in the fight against COVID-19 

 Sizwe Pamla, Cosatu National Spokesperson, 30 September 2021 

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) notes President Ramaphosa's updates in the fight against Covid-19. 

Vaccine Roll Out Campaign 

The Federation welcomes the efforts of government to ensure the procurement and distribution of vaccines.  This is a positive turnaround, and we salute the tireless efforts of our health workers who have ensured that over 17.5 million vaccine dosages have been dispensed, and over 25% of the adult population vaccinated.  

However, COSATU remains deeply concerned at the decrease in daily vaccination rates.  Vaccines have been proven to be highly effective in preventing infection, transmission, serious illness, hospitalisation and death. 

The goal of achieving the 70% plus vaccination rate by the end of 2021 is critical to saving lives and livelihoods and to enable the economy to recover and rebuild.   

Much more needs to be done to engage, educate and address the concerns of those who are hesitant to vaccinate.  Government, educational institutions, religious sector, the media, unions, civil society, and business all need to play their role in this regard. 

We need to take vaccines to the people, to townships, informal areas, universities, taxi ranks, shopping centres, farms, villages, rural areas, churches, and mosques etc. 

Additional measures to boost vaccine demand are needed and these should include opening vaccinations to persons over 12 years of age, providing booster shots for health workers and those over 60 years of age or with co-morbidities. 

It should also include incentives and rewards that some businesses are now providing.  

We remain skeptical about the introduction of vaccine certificates. We need to know how they will be protected from abuse, fraud and corruption and be accessible to persons in rural areas or those without access to technology. 

We cannot afford a situation where people end up buying vaccine certificates and then our entire vaccine programme’s integrity will be questioned.  This will defeat the very purpose of persuading and mobilising people to vaccinate. 

Health and Safety Measures 

COSATU is deeply concerned with the excessive relaxation of some of the non-pharmaceutical interventions.  The massive increase in numbers for public gatherings is very worrying and may accelerate the anticipated 4th wave in November. 

Government needs to reconsider what is potentially a reckless and unnecessary easing of restrictions. 

This will be worsened in the run up to the local government elections. 

Society needs to consume alcohol responsibly because we cannot afford to continue to abuse alcohol and place unbearable strain on our healthcare facilities and workers. 

Economic and Social Relief 

COSATU is deeply disappointed that the President did not mention the failure of the UIF to roll out relief to the thousands of workers still waiting for the long-delayed relief from Level 4 (March 16 to June 25) as well as more recently the July violence in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. 

This is an unforgiveable delay to thousands of workers and a failure on the part of the UIF that needs to be addressed now. 

The Federation will be requesting a meeting with the Minister and Director-General for Employment and Labour to fix this inexplicable crisis. 

Workers deserve better. 

Issued by COSATU

___________

NEHAWU Statement on Government’s decision to move the Country to Adjusted Alert Level 1

Zola Saphetha, NEHAWU General Secretary, September 30, 2021

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) notes the statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa announcing the decision by the Cabinet to move the country to adjusted Alert Level 1 of the COVID-19 lockdown as part of government’s Risk Adjusted Strategy.

The President reported that the decision to move the country to Alert level 1 was informed by amongst others the decline in COVID-19 cases and sustained decreases in hospitalisations and deaths. 

As NEHAWU, we view the decrease in cases, hospitalisations and deaths as a positive sign that our efforts in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic are starting to yield positive results and our efforts as a nation should be commended in that regard. However, we call upon government not to lower its hands and be caught up by complacence as indications are signalling the potential fourth wave by end of November 2021.

As NEHAWU, we hope that the decision to move the country to alert level 1 will not contribute to an upsurge in the number of new infections leading to mass hospitalisations thereby putting strains on our already overstretched healthcare system.

Our members and workers in the healthcare sector have experienced the worst of this pandemic especially with the previous waves and we hope this decision will not once again put their lives in danger as a result of relaxing lockdown regulations.

It is our view that government during the relaxation of COVID-19 regulations will adequately prepare the health sector for the predicted fourth wave so as to avoid to be caught under belt all the time by different waves since previous waves.

In this regard, we will continue to engage the new Minister in our meeting possibly to take place next week on the need to learn lessons from the unpreparedness of government on previous waves especially when it comes to relaxing regulations.

Lastly, we call on all our people not to be complacent and continue to practise non-pharmaceutical interventions to protect themselves. Equally we call on our people to continue vaccinating.

We call our people to continue wearing masks, sanitise their hands and to observe social distancing.

END

Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat

International

Germany ratifies the Maternity Protection Convention

30 September 2021

On 30 September 2021, the Government of Germany deposited the instrument of ratification of the Maternity Protection Convention, 2000 (No. 183) ,

Germany becomes the 40th country to ratify Convention No. 183, the ILO’s most up-to-date and comprehensive standard on maternity protection.

In depositing the instrument of ratification, Ms. Kerstin Griese, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of Germany, stated: “Many women around the world still very much face the reality of discrimination, of violence and harassment based on pregnancy, maternity and their family responsibilities. In ratifying Convention No. 183 Germany is sending a strong signal reaffirming its commitment to fight against discrimination of working women worldwide.”

On the occasion of the ratification, Ms. Caren Marks, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, declared: Maternity protection has always been one of the key issues for protecting women’s, children’s and family rights at international level. The ratification of ILO Convention 183 by the Federal Republic of Germany promotes the reconciliation of work and family life for pregnant and breastfeeding women by emphasizing the importance of maternity protection. Ratification enables Germany to participate more effectively in the international debate on maternity protection and helps to advance maternity protection both in Germany and in other countries.

In receiving the instrument of ratification, Mr. Guy Ryder, Director-General of the ILO, stated: “I welcome the ratification by Germany of Convention No. 183, which sets standards of utmost importance for the achievement of gender equality in the world of work. Strengthening maternity protection in all its dimensions is more than ever needed, in view of the negative impact that the COVID-19 crisis has had on jobs, livelihoods and national health care systems, which have particularly affected women. By promoting the health, safety and well-being of pregnant women, new mothers and newborns, Convention No. 183 contributes to building a better, brighter future. The ongoing commitment of Germany to social protection in these crucial times must be underlined”.

Maternity protection is an area of major concern for the ILO since its foundation in 1919, when the first international convention on the subject was adopted. Safeguarding the health of expectant and nursing mothers, protecting them from job discrimination and ensuring income continuation or replacement during periods of leave is a precondition for achieving genuine equality of opportunity and treatment for men and women at work and enabling workers to raise families in health and security.

These objectives are encompassed in Convention No. 183, which seeks to ensure that the right to work and rights at work of all employed women, including women employed in atypical forms of dependent work, are adequately protected during maternity and beyond. For this purpose, the Convention sets forth a comprehensive approach, encompassing the right of protected women to: medical care; maternity leave; cash benefits to ensure the mother can support herself and her family during leave; protection from unhealthy and unsafe working conditions and environments during pregnancy and nursing ; protection from dismissal and discrimination in employment; and nursing breaks on return to work. Convention No. 183 and its accompanying
 Recommendation, No. 191 , will make the object of the General Survey of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations in 2022, together with the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention  and Recommendation , Nos. 111, and the Workers with Families Responsibilities Convention, No. 156  and Recommendation, No. 165 .

Despite significant advances in the extension of protection in many parts of the world, periods of maternity remain marked by vulnerability and insecurity for many working women and their families. According to the recently published ILO’s World Social Protection Report 2020-22 , only 44.9 per cent of women with newborns worldwide receive a maternity benefit, a percentage that drops drastically in some regions. Effective and affordable access to maternity health care is still far from universal and unacceptable levels of maternal and newborn mortality rates can be observed in many parts of the world.

Maternity protection is a key component of the transformative policies called for in
the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development . Ratifying and applying Convention No. 183 can bring countries closer to meeting, notably, SDGs 1 (No poverty), 3 (Good health and well-being), 5 (Gender equality), 8 (Decent work and economic growth) and 10 (Reduced inequalities), and ensure that no woman is left behind.

The Convention will enter into force for Germany on 1st October 2021. To this date, Germany has ratified 86 International Labour Conventions. For further
information, see NORMLEX .

__________________________

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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