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
Wednesday, 13 October 2021
‘Deepen the Back to Basics Campaign, Consolidate the Struggle for the NDR and Advance the Struggle for Socialism’
All workers urged to take Covid19 vaccine jabs!
Organize at every workplace and demand Personal Protective Equipment Now!
Defend Jobs Now!
Join COSATU NOW!
NEHAWU Northern Cape welcomes the arrest of former HOD of Health in Northern Cape, Dr Steven Jonkers
October 11, 2021
The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union [NEHAWU] in the Northern Cape notes and welcomes the arrest of the former HOD of Health in the province, Dr Steven Jonkers, in relation to security tender fraud amounting to R384 million.
The former HOD and the Directors of Defensor Security Company appeared in court on the 08th October 2021 and were released on bail. As NEHAWU, we have been consistent in raising the issue of corruption especially pertaining to the illegal awarding of this Defensor security tender. Much as we welcome the arrest, we however believe that the former HOD was not acting alone in this matter.
We call upon the HAWKS to extend their investigation to former officials in the premier’s office. Furthermore, we call for the immediate suspension of Dr. Steven Jonkers. NEHAWU in the province has reported to the government on many occasions the irregular awarding of security tenders especially at the department of Health and Social Development, however nothing was done.
As NEHAWU, we demand the Premier in the Northern Cape, Dr Zamani Saul to prioritise the insourcing of securities in the department of health as this will result in massive saving of money and curb corruption as the tendering system cannot be separated from corruption.
Lastly, the union calls on the Provincial Government to effectively deal with all those involved in corrupt activities in the province.
For more information, please contact: Moleme Moleme (Northern Cape Provincial Secretary) at 053 832 6836 or 082 455 2521 or email: mol...@nehawu.org.za or Banzi Sebotse (Northern Cape Provincial Deputy Secretary) at 053 832 6836 or 063 685 1900 or email to Ba...@nehawu.org.za
Matthew Parks, COSATU Parliamentary Coordinator, 13 October 2021
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) welcomes the National Treasury’s instruction to all government departments, entities, State-Owned Enterprises, and municipalities that they may only purchase locally produced cement. This is a demand the Federation has repeatedly made with the government and private industries.
This forms part of the core of the Economic Recovery and Reconstruction Plan and its commitments to ramping up local procurement. It will save and create thousands of badly needed local manufacturing jobs, and boost the local cement manufacturing sector, which has battled against a flood of cheap and subsidised imports from Asia.
Government is embarking on a mass infrastructure programme that will see more than R1.6 trillion invested in projects across the economy. Requiring locally produced cement to be used will enable the local cement manufacturing sector to grow. It will inject billions of Rands into the local economy, and this will help position the sector to export to the continent as well.
Government now needs to ensure this directive is implemented in full and any state institutions found wanting must be held accountable.
The government and businesses need to extend such interventions in the infrastructure programme to support locally produced steel, machinery, and protective wear. Similarly, such interventions should be replicated across all spheres of public procurement to support locally produced clothing, food, furniture, and vehicles. The private sector and banks need to embrace such local procurement initiatives.
Local manufacturers need to exploit such support from the government to enhance their competitiveness, upskill workers, invest in capacity, and address inefficiencies. Failure to do so will render well-intentioned interventions by the state meaningless.
Issued by COSATU
The Portfolio Committee on Transport reminds South Africans to make written
submissions on the Rail Safety Bill, as the 15 October 2021 deadline draws near.
Among other things, the Bill is intended to provide for a legal framework to enforce compliance with the Rail Safety Act, and it also aims for a sustainable and well-governed railway safety regulator.
The Chairperson of the committee Mr Mosebenzi Zwane said the Bill would safeguard the future of passanger rail and that it will never be the same in terms of quality, safety and governance.
The deadline for written submissions is 15 October 2021.
For media enquiries or interviews with the Chairperson, please contact the committee’s Media Officer:
Name: Mr Sibongile Maputi
Parliamentary Communication Services
Cell: 081 052 6060
11 October 2021
The ITUC has welcomed the agreement by 136 countries on global tax reform, which includes a 15% minimum global tax rate, but it must be the beginning of changing the system so that big companies pay their fair share.
ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: “We welcome this long overdue example of multilateralism, but this must act as a launchpad, not a destination, for greater ambition to ensure that multinational companies pay their fair share of tax.
“A minimum rate of 15% is too low, it will slow the race to the bottom of corporate tax and deal tax havens a major blow, but there are too many loopholes in the deal. However, now that there is agreement by most of the world that we need a minimum rate, we must push for the right rate, which we have argued should be 25%.
“The G20 finance ministers meet this week, and they must show the ambition the world needs and go above the 15% rate. We have made it clear in our briefing why the world needs fair corporate taxation – now the ministers must deliver.
“And let’s not stop here. The governments of the world must find agreement on other cross-border tax challenges, such as a tax on the excessive wealth of the world’s richest people and a tax on financial transactions so that this sector makes a fair contribution to tax revenues.
“Now is the time to create the financial conditions to achieve economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, provide for quality public services, reduce inequality and tackle unemployment. To fund this, we need a fair corporate tax.
“So, this is a good start, but we must go further and the people of the world shouldn’t have to wait until the next crisis for everyone to pay a fair, effective rate of tax. Most working people pay more than 15% tax. Why should they wait for multinationals and the super-rich to pay their fair share?”
For further analysis of the tax deal, read the response of the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) to the OECD here.
13 October, 2021
After a week of negotiations between governments, employers and trade unions, more than 60 million workers in the textile and garment industry around the world will now benefit from a new code of practice with concrete guidance on improving health and safety.
The ILO Code of Practice adopted on 8 October is the first for the textiles, clothing, leather and footwear industries. The code sets out how governments, employers and workers can improve safety and health for the more than 60 million workers in the industries.
“This is an important achievement since ILO Code of Practices are reference tools that set out principles that can be reflected in the design and implementation of policies, strategies, programmes, legislation, administrative measures and social dialogue mechanisms for the sector,”
says IndustriALL textile and garment director Christina Hajagos-Clausen.
Based on international labour standards and other sectoral codes of practice, the Code provides comprehensive and practical guidance on how to eliminate, reduce and control all major hazards and risks in the industries. This includes chemical substances, ergonomic and physical hazards, tools, machines and equipment, as well as building and fire safety.
“We want to ensure that Rana Plaza will never happen again. If everyone commits to translating the provisions in this Code into action, we can ensure that no worker – in Bangladesh or any other country – will ever have to risk her life in a garment factory again,”
says Kamrul Anam, worker vice-chairperson of the meeting and president of IndustriALL affiliate Bangladesh Textile and Garments Workers League (BTGWL).
The workers’ delegation was also comprised of Manuel Alejandro González Muiño (CCOO/Spain), Peter Frövén (IFM/Sweden). Botayeb Bouchkhachakh (CDT/Morocco), Dr. Lilanie Daschner (SACWTU/South Africa), Athit Kong (CCAWDU/Cambodia) and Leonardo Nelcino da Silva (CNTVCUT/Brasil and supported by OSH advisor Rory O’Neill, from the ITUC and Cristian Valero, from the IndustriALL South America regional office.
The code of conduct will be come into force after approval by the ILO governing body in March.
The textiles, clothing, leather and footwear industries have been hit incredibly hard by the Covid-19 crisis. Thousands of enterprises have had to stop production and millions of workers have lost their livelihoods for shorter or longer periods, and many remain without a job.
The Accord agreement was renewed in September, broadening the coverage to general health and safety, rather than only fire and building safety. The International Accord on Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Sector preserves and advances the fundamental elements that made the Accord successful, including: respect for freedom of association; shared governance between labour and brands; a high level of transparency; safety committee training and worker awareness program; and a credible, independent complaints mechanism.
Over 135 global brands and retailers have signed the new agreement
The attack on the CGIL in Italy is an assault on democracy
Education International condemns the assault by neo-fascist groups on the CGIL union headquarters
David Edwards, General Secretary of Education International, the global federation of teachers and education workers, expressed his outrage after the headquarters of the Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro (CGIL), the largest union confederation in Italy, was ransacked by neo-fascists.
The violence broke out on Saturday, October 9, during demonstrations opposing a “green pass” which requires employees to show proof of COVID vaccination, negative test, or recent recovery from the virus.
“As educators and unionists, we condemn the assault on the CGIL, and express our continued solidarity with our union sisters and brothers in Italy. This act of violence by avowed neo-fascists is a clear attack on democratic institutions, and an effort to intimidate those who stand in the way of extremism and authoritarianism,” stated David Edwards, Secretary General of Education International.
“We stand with our affiliate FLC-CGIL, and with all our member organisations in Italy and trade unions in the country as they continue to represent the voice of workers and work for an inclusive democracy,” Edwards added.
Following the incident, twelve individuals, including top leaders of Forza Nuova, a small political party that describes itself as neo-fascist, were arrested in connection to the violence.
"The assault on CGIL's national headquarters is an act of fascist thuggery, an attack on democracy and on the world of work. No-one should think that they can return our country to its fascist past," stated Maurizio Landini, General Secretary of the CGIL.
Press reports based on information from official sources indicate that those who perpetrated the violence in Rome are part of an extreme right group whose strategy and actions were inspired by the January 6 assault on the US Capitol in Washington DC. In both cases, there is evidence that social media driven by extremist groups was used to manipulate anger and dissatisfaction based on lies and distortions.
“When facts are debatable, then you don’t have facts, you don’t have truth and you can’t have trust. Without all of these things then you don’t have a shared reality, you can’t have democracy.” This quote by Maria Ressa, a friend of Education International and recipient of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, illustrates the key role established, representative organizations such as unions have in safeguarding healthy democracies.
Just as journalists and a free press have a vital role in supporting democracy when it is fragile and under attack, so do teachers. The role of teachers is fundamental in cementing the values of democracy, developing competences such as listening, observation, critical thinking, free discussion, and active citizenship. These skills help young people separate facts from propaganda and serve as guiding principles for their actions as adults.
“The value of trade unions in building and maintaining democracy, as well as the irreplaceable role of journalists and educators must be understood and supported in order to prevent the type of violence and extremism which led to the attack on the union hall in Rome.” Edwards concluded.
Education International will join the national antifascist demonstration organised on Saturday 16 October in Rome by all three major trade union confederations, the Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro (CGIL), the Confederazione Italiana Sindacati Lavoratori (CISL), and the Unione Italiana del Lavoro (UIL).
Abbasso il fascismo. Viva la democrazia.
13 October, 2021
The steering committee for the ICT, electrical and electronics (ICT EE) sector met on 8 October to share experiences and develop an activities plan for 2022. More than 40 per cent of the 46 delegates were women.
The meeting was opened by sector co-chair Masahi Jimbo. IndustriALL Global Union general secretary Atle Høie reported on the recent IndustriALL Congress, and spoke about how IndustriALL’s four strategic goals related to ICT EE.
“Five years have passed since the second world Congress, but looking around the world, there are still many issues unsolved, such as gender equality and precarious workers with low wages. This sector needs to deepen solidarity among unions to implement the new action plan,” said Jimbo.
Atle Høie said:
“We need to confront global capital. We need to ensure that workers get their fair share of profits. Even during Covid, the big companies – including ICT companies - got richer.”
“This sector has a crucial role to play in a Just Transition to a greener economy. We need to make employers understand that workers need a pathway to green jobs.”
Assistant general secretary Kan Matsuzaki spoke about trends and developments in the sector, which is performing well, with many of the top companies among the best performing companies in the global economy.
Covid-19 has increased reliance on ICT and sped up digitalization. Major companies are making huge investments and huge profits. Demand for semiconductors is high, with pandemic-driven working from home boosting demand for telecommunications equipment and home appliances. There is also strong growth in vehicle components powered by memory chips.
In developing countries, the number of workers in electronics manufacturing service (EMS) companies is growing rapidly as brands outsource manufacturing processes. The top ten EMS companies employ about 1.5 million workers. However, there is very low union density in the sector, particularly in the largest companies.
“Our challenge remains what it has always been”, said Matsuzaki.
“To organize this sector until we have the critical mass we need to influence the balance of power between workers and these powerful corporations.”
There is a struggle for dominance between Western-headquartered tech giants – such as Alphabet, Amazon and Apple - who design products and build software, and the mostly Asian companies like Huawei who build the infrastructure. Ninety per cent of manufacturing takes place in Asia, where assembly jobs typically pay between $200 and $500 per month. Recently, there has been significant expansion into Latin America, and particularly Mexico.
A positive development over the past few years is that many more countries, particularly those in the sector’s manufacturing supply chain, have ratified core ILO Conventions.
Anne-Marie Chopinet and Jan Brauburger of IndustriAll Europe gave a European perspective. Supply chain disruptions and component shortages have affected production and jobs in Europe, leading to a call to reindustrialize, and particularly to invest in semiconductor manufacture. IndustriAll has developed an action plan demanding a holistic industrial strategy.
IndustriALL gender coordinator Armelle Séby and academic Dr Jane Pillinger presented research carried out into the experience of women workers in the sector.
Women make up on average 50 per cent of the workforce, though these jobs are unevenly distributed around the world. Women make up the majority of the workforce in countries manufacturing basic components, and tend to perform low-paid, precarious, assembly-line and quality control jobs. There is a high level of gender-based job segregation, with few women in highly skilled, well-paying jobs.
Matsuzaki introduced a proposed plan for sector activities for 2022. Major focuses will be:
Norman Mampane (Shopsteward Editor)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
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