#COSATU holds Swaziland Global Week of Action
Taking COSATU Today Forward Special Bulletin
‘Whoever sides with the revolutionary people in deed as well as in word is a revolutionary in the full sense’-Maoo
Our side of the story
Tuesday, 7 September 2021
‘Deepen the Back to Basics Campaign, Consolidate the Struggle for the NDR and Advance the Struggle for Socialism’
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Employers under scrutiny in an ongoing joint blitz inspection in Sarah Baartman District
Employers in the Wholesale and Retail Sector have been slated for non-compliance with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act at the start of the two-week long blitz which kicked off with 45 inspections conducted in different sectors in Addo.
Inspections were conducted in the Wholesale and Retail Sector (12), Hospitality sector (03), Miscellaneous (21) and nine (9) in the Farm Sector.
Four (4) compliance orders and one (01) written undertaking due to underpayment of employees were dished out in the wholesale and retail sector who were given 14 days to comply.
Employment and Labour Inspectors are scattered in operation along with Sarah Baartman District Municipality, Departments of Home Affairs and Health as well as the South African Police Services in an effort to scrutinize compliance with labour legislation in and around Addo and Kirkwood areas.
The inspections saw a total of alleged 71 undocumented foreign nationals apprehended by Home Affairs Department and SAPS with 68 of those being males and 03 females. Amongst these immigrants are nationals of Lesotho, Malawi and Zimbabwe. They will appear before court on Wednesday, 08th September 2021.
The aim of the inspection is to educate and enforce compliance with labour legislation; ensure compliance with National Minimum Wage Act, Basic Conditions of Employment Act, Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act including Immigration Act and administer on-site vaccination.
“The department has noted with concern the rife allegations of exploitation of workers in particular foreign nationals within certain sectors of the economy and areas within Sarah Baartman District. It is therefore the responsibility of the law enforcers to ensure those found to be delinquent face the full might of the law,” said Head of Department; Ms Nomfundo Douw-Jack.
Inspections will continue in Kirkwood and Addo areas until the 17th September 2021.
Provincial Communication Officer
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Sizwe Pamla, Cosatu National Spokesperson, 7 September 2021
The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted of the latest gross domestic product figures released by Statistics South Africa showing that South Africa’s economy expanded by 1,2% in the second quarter of 2021. The same numbers show that the economy is 1,4% smaller than it was before the outbreak of COVID-19.
Realistically, these deceptive numbers reflect the effects of the reopening and partial stabilisation of the economy after a period of extreme lockdown. This is a reminder that improving vaccination numbers and avoiding another overwhelming fourth wave of coronavirus infections is paramount if the economy is to be properly stabilised.
While these numbers reflect the positive effects of reopening the economy, they hide the frightening reality of an economy that still does not have a reliable and secure electricity supply and an economy that is seriously underperforming in terms of real growth. Economies are about the people, and in South Africa, we have the highest unemployment on record and more than fifteen million people struggle to have three meals a day.
The misguided government austerity programme, including wage freezes and the ongoing privatisation, will worsen unemployment and continue to greatly reduce the purchasing power of many South Africans. This will devastate an economy that derives 60% of its capacity from consumer spending.
We hope that the government’s preoccupation going forward will be on unlocking the domestic investment and the domestic economy. Despite the myriad of incentives given to the domestic capital, there has not been any reciprocal response from the private sector.
The state must promote development by redistributing growth and upgrading and restructuring the economy. It was the general government services, which played a key role in pulling the economy out of the recession in 2009 and in sustaining at least some relatively positive economic results between 2010 and 2016.
It is sad that the government is strangling the economy with its ill-advised austerity strategy in the public service and is pushing for more privatisation of state assets.
The government-led infrastructure development programme should help in strengthening local industries by increasing the local content of the infrastructure development projects. Now more than ever, the government needs to intensify its investments and infrastructure drives in the economy.
Job creation income redistribution is the only way to spur and sustain economic growth and to ensure the redistribution of wealth in a meaningful way. The jobs bloodbath that is continuing in all the sectors of the economy and the rising cost of living are unsustainable.
Government should help small businesses and eradicate barriers to entry to deal with the high administered prices such as electricity, transport costs, and the non-availability of cheap finance.
The government also needs to become serious about tackling corruption as this is at the heart of the weakening and collapse of key SOEs, state organs, and the unavailability of badly needed funds for essential public services.
But the long-term solution to our economic woes is for the government to act decisively to address the neo-colonial structure of the economy. This means acting decisively to counter the private sector strategy of investing less and mechanising and financialising more.
The country needs to explore the viable alternatives of breaking free from this hostage situation and the blackmailing tactics of big business. These include a range of proposals to discipline and regulate capital.
The withdrawal strategy by the private sector as characterised by the ongoing capital flight or investment strike calls for the government to be decisive and bold. The government needs to tax businesses that are refusing to invest their profits in the productive investment, as well as introducing tighter capital controls to discourage continuing capital flight.
Issued by COSATU
COSATU in the province takes this moment to welcome and congratulate comrade Kaobitsa Bushy Maape as the newly elected Premier of the North West province. This election come after some unfortunate incidents from which both the organisation and individuals should learn valuable lessons.
As the Federation in the province, we want to make this earnest call to the new Premier – let your focus and that of your executive be the improvement of the economy of the province, creation of jobs and reduction of poverty in line with the resolves of the national Extended ANC NEC Lekgotla.
To that extend we call for the Office of the Premier to convene a Provincial Economic Summit to reflect on the state of our provincial economy, the impact of Covid-19 on it and how to recover and improve this economy. The provincial government needs to do everything possible to alleviate unemployment and reduce poverty levels in the province.
In that regard, the Premier and his executive can ill-afford to elevate factional politics over the plight of the people of the province and the electoral mandate given to the ANC in 2019.
Our municipalities are dysfunctional and in a state of near collapse. This is the coalface of service delivery, and the provincial government must do everything to rid our municipalities from being used as battlefields of factional battles and ensure that improved services are delivered to our communities especially the working-class communities.
As the Federation in the province, we will support government programmes in the province that are aimed at improving the economy of the province in the interest of its workers and working-class communities and creating sustainable jobs and drastically reducing the levels of poverty, hence our relentless call for a Provincial Economic Summit where government, business, labour and communities will come together to seek solutions to the current challenges facing our provincial economy.
We also take this moment to call on workers and citizens of our province to participate positively in the fight against Covid-19 by vaccinating.
We need a healthy society to generate a healthy economy.
Covid-19 only serves to worsen the rate of unemployment and the levels of poverty.
Let us also adhere to the non-pharmaceutical measures of combating Covid-19 by wearing our masks, washing our hands regularly and sanitising.
We also take this moment to call on the new Premier to act against corruption and malladmistration which continues to affect services delivery in the province
Once again, congratulations to comrade Kaobitsa Bushy Maape for your election as the North West Premier.
Always remember, you are the Premier of all people of this province irrespective of their societal status and not the Premier of groupings. Your mandate is the electoral mandate of the governing party.
7 September 2021
The African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa (www.ituc-africa.org) is appalled by the acts of dehumanization meted out by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) against over 700 African migrants legally working in the UAE. We have it on record that the UAE government used Abu Dhabi's Rapid Intervention Forces (SWAT), Criminal Investigation Department, and police to carry out well-coordinated mass arrests. We have learned how the said authorities used excessive force, including stun guns, beatings, and also sexually exploited and harassed women, by among other things touching their bodies inappropriately.
These distasteful and unacceptable actions meted out against African labour migrants are revelations contained in the report from the authenticated investigative journalism work of impACT International for Human Rights Policies and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor. We commend these organisations for their useful report on pointing out the egregious human and labour rights violations of these African migrants. Several mainstream media outlets have since reported on these conscienceless attacks on African migrants by the UAE authorities.
According to the report, over 800 labour migrants with 700 of them being African labour migrants and the rest of Asian origin were affected. The accounts and testimonies of the victims noted that the Emirati Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) raided five residential buildings in Abu Dhabi known to house African nationals in the early hours of 24 and 25 June 2021. The Emirati security agencies destroyed CCTV and Wi-Fi, before breaking into homes, destroying the properties of the raided migrants. Victims’ accounts also pointed to battering and brutalization before their arrest and during the period of their detention in a prison environment with inhuman conditions. Until their deportation, none of the victims was charged and taken to court for any offence in the five weeks of detention.
For female victims, several of them, including pregnant women, informed that they were sexually harassed as most of them were arrested naked and others in their underwear. The Police officers were touching their private parts and laughing out loudly, obviously enjoying themselves to the detriment of their victims. The victims were only allowed to take their passports during the raids whilst the Police officers were shouting and hauling racial abuses at them. These migrants were denied access to medical and legal assistance whilst in detention. They were subsequently deported after long illegal incarceration with their personal belongings confiscated.
The ITUC-Africa strongly condemns the repulsive and distasteful night raids, criminal kidnap and inhuman treatments of these African labour migrants by the Emirati SWAT. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of those still detained by the UAE authorities.
African organised workers are angry and offended to learn that these abusive actions by the UAE authorities against Black African migrants were orchestrated simply because of their skin colour. We categorically denounce and condemn the racist premised hate against the African workers.
Further, it is disheartening and unacceptable to note that all the manhandled African migrants possessed all the necessary, legitimate and valid documents to live and work in the UAE.
ITUC-Africa finds it unacceptable that efforts by the victims to get their national governments, embassies and immigration officials to assist them in redressing the abuses they suffered have not been fruitful.
ITUC-Africa, therefore, calls on the African Union Commission and African governments, as well as the members of the international human rights defenders’ community to also condemn these racist and hate attacks against these over 700 African labour migrants by the UAE. We also call on them to take swift, firm and effective actions to make the UAE account for these egregious infractions against the African workers. In specific terms, we urge the AU to lead the charge in the demand for commensurate and timely redress, including measured compensation for the victims.
We also call on the government of the UAE to take timely and genuine steps to progressively reform its Kafala system that lacks protection provisions for labour migrants, restricts their rights and exposes them to exploitation and discrimination. The Kafala system is contributing to the intensification of the perpetuation of racism, especially against Africans. The UAE must emulate Qatar that has successfully reformed its Kafala system and practices in a collaborative, broad and inclusive manner.
Kwasi Adu-Amankwah, General Secretary, ITUC-Africa
2 September, 2021
Seven IndustriALL Global Union affiliates in Zimbabwe are embarking on a campaign to encourage workers to get vaccinated against Covid-19 amid hesitancy caused by anti-vaccination messages on social media and other platforms.
The unions announced their plans during an online health and safety meeting on 20 August. Several topics and questions were discussed during the meeting, including whether it is lawful for the employer to ask workers to produce vaccination certificates or negative Covid-19 test results taken in the last 24 hours as a condition for reporting for work. Health and safety rights that workers enjoyed during a global pandemic were discussed with reference to Zimbabwean labour laws and international labour standards.
The unions raised the issues as a response to a recent trend in which employers in the country were demanding vaccination cards, or negative Covid-19 test results when workers reported for work. This began after the government announcement that although workers will not be forced to vaccinate, those who chose not to will not be offered jobs, will be banned from commuting on public buses, and be excluded from Covid-19 benefits. However, unions say the employers must engage workers through social dialogue platforms and consult with unions to address vaccine hesitancy before issuing the notices.
As a response to the employers’ notices, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions has gone to court to challenge actions by state-owned telecommunications company TelOne which wrote to workers informing them that the unvaccinated would no longer receive Covid-19 allowances and be required to take immediate leave.
“Whilst workers have mixed emotions on Covid-19 vaccination, employers on the other hand must ensure the health and safety and well-being of workers. However, it seems information gaps are negatively impacting on the uptake of vaccines but slowly some workers are beginning to see the benefits after vaccination. As unions we are emphasizing that workers should be given enough information to convince them to agree to vaccination,”
says Eustace Chidhindi, the affiliates' occupational health and safety coordinator.
“It has been proven that vaccines can stop severe disease and death when one becomes infected with the coronavirus and encourage Zimbabwean workers to get vaccinated. Further, we urge workplace cooperation between unions and employers, and social dialogue on Covid-19 prevention and workers health and safety,”
says Paule France Ndessomin, IndustriALL regional secretary for Sub Saharan Africa.
According to the Ministry of Health and Childcare, the country has procured 13 million vaccines and vaccinated 2,582,705 people (single dose) and 1,636,498 (double dose) using mainly the Sinopharm vaccine from China. Current cumulative confirmed positive cases on 31 August were 124,773 with 4,419 deaths and 113,057 recoveries. The ministry says to reach population immunity 10 million people must be vaccinated.
IndustriALL affiliates in Zimbabwe are National Union of Metal and Allied Industries of Zimbabwe (NUMAIZ), National Union of the Clothing Industry (NUCI), the Zimbabwe Chemical, Plastics and Allied Workers Union (ZCPAWU), Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union (ZDAMWU), Zimbabwe Energy Workers Union (ZEWU), Zimbabwe Leather, Shoe and Allied Workers Union (ZLSAWU), and the Zimbabwe Textile Workers Union (ZTWU).
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