Taking COSATU Today Forward Special Bulletin, 2 November 2021

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Norman Mampane

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Nov 2, 2021, 8:38:20 AM11/2/21
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COSATU TODAY

#2021YearofCosatuLocals

#Back2Basics

#NEHAWU 12th National Congress commences this week

#JoinCOSATUNow

#ClassConsciousness

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, 2 November 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!

 

Contents                      

  • Workers Parliament: Back to Basics!
  • COSATU wishes NEHAWU a successful and productive 12th National Congress

Ø  Media Invitation to NEHAWU 12th National Congress

  • South Africa
  • COSATU welcomes the President’s signing of the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Act into law 
  • International-Workers’ Solidarity!
  • ILO welcomes G20 endorsement of human-centred approach to COVID-19 recovery

Ø  United for a sustainable maritime industry

Workers’ Parliament-Back2Basics 

COSATU wishes NEHAWU a successful and productive 12th National Congress

Sizwe Pamla, Cosatu National Spokesperson, 02 November 2021

The Congress of South African Trade Unions wishes its affiliate the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union a successful 12th National Congress. The 12th National Congress of NEHAWU is starting tomorrow 03rd of November 2021 at Birchwood Hotel, Boksburg under the theme; “Strengthen Workplace Organisation to Defend Collective Bargaining, Deepen Class Consciousness and Advance Internationalism”

NEHAWU is joining a list of COSATU unions that are honouring the federation’s founding principles of democracy and worker control. We salute the fact that even under difficult and deadly conditions because of COVID-19, the union is not making excuses but is convening its congress to prove that it remains accountable to its members.  

The Federation acknowledges the hard work that has been done by NEHAWU structures to defend workers under COVID-19 and their overall posture in improving health and safety at the workplace, while also defending collective bargaining in the sectors where the union is organised.

This congress is taking place at a time of heightened offensive against the workers and working class in general locally and abroad. We are in an age where there is centralization and concentration of capital and wealth in the hands of a few, and we hope the delegates on this congress will answer some of the most urgent questions facing the working class.

The nature and quality of our public service, health, and safety of our members, agencification of the state, transformation of our healthcare, and the impact of budget cuts are some of the issues that the union can help the workers navigate.

NEHAWU is well placed to answer some of these questions. But we also expect the union to grapple with the scourge of women abuse and gender-based violence that has engulfed this country. Women are not just abused and killed but they continue to be discriminated against both in society and in the workplace.

The workplace environment is constantly characterised by gender and economic discrimination, women workers conditions are least protected, economic, and maternity protection remains a matter of concern. When women drop out of the labour force to bear and raise children, they typically suffer consequences in terms of career progression and retirement/social security benefits and lose out more on their annual earnings.

COSATU expects all its unions and members to prioritise the fight against patriarchy and women exploitation.

We wish all the delegates productive discussions and hope they will continue the union’s tradition of innovative and discerning analysis of issues facing the labour movement and our education system.

We wish NEHAWU a successful and productive national congress.

Long Live NEHAWU! Long Live!

Issued by COSATU

____

Media Invitation to NEHAWU 12th National Congress

Lwazi Nkolonzi, NEHAWU Acting National Spokesperson, November 01, 2021

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] will be holding its 12th National Congress under the theme “Strengthen workplace organisation to defend collective bargaining, deepen class consciousness and advance internationalism" as from the 03rd – 06th November 2021 at Birchwood Hotel, Boksburg, Gauteng.

The national congress is the highest decision-making body of the union and has powers to adopt new policies, resolutions and also elect new National Office Bearers [NOBs]. The congress will be attended by delegates drawn from all structures of the national union and will assess progress made in the implementation of its resolutions since the last congress that was held in 2017.

Our congress will be blessed by addresses from the Tripartite Alliance [ANC, SACP and COSATU] and international fraternal organisations [World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) and Trade Union International Public Service &Allied (TUI – PS&A).

On the first day [Wednesday] 3rd November 2021, the congress will be addressed by the following union and alliance leaders:

10:00am : Gauteng Premier, Cde David Makhura

11:30am : NEHAWU President, Cde Mzwandile Makwayiba

12:45pm : ANC President, Cde Cyril Ramaphosa

14:15pm : SACP General Secretary, Cde Blade Nzimande

15:00pm : NEHAWU General Secretary, Cde Zola Saphetha

Members of the media are invited to attend, cover and report on the important proceedings of the congress.

END

Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat

South Africa 

COSATU welcomes the President’s signing of the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Act into law 

Matthew Parks, COSATU Parliamentary Coordinator, 02 November 2021   

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) welcomes the President’s signing of the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Act into law after being delayed for many years. It is critical that government and the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) ensure its provisions are now implemented. 

The Federation welcomes the PSIRA Act’s provisions seeking to improve the conditions and protections of security sector employees, namely: 

  • Clear minimum conditions of service for security guards and the recognition of their rights.  
    • All too often we have seen security companies treat security guards as little more than glorified slaves and fodder in the face of highly armed and dangerous cash-in-transit syndicates. 
  • Minimum training standards for security guards to help ensure that they can perform their duties effectively and to be able to protect their own lives. 
  • Minimum standards for Cash in Transit security. 
    • This is critical as CIT security are often sent into extremely dangerous conditions with insufficient training, weaponry, close body, and armoured vehicle protection against CIT syndicates which are well resourced and often highly skilled former military personnel from neighboring states.  

The Federation supports the PSIRA Act’s clauses providing for oversight and accountability of the industry through: 

  • Minimum and ethical standards of conduct for the industry and security service companies. 
  • Clear accountability for the industry to the Regulatory Authority, PSIRA. 
  • The prohibition for persons with financial interests in the sector to serve on PSIRA. 
  • For PSIRA to be held accountable by Parliament; and 
  • For specified local ownership of security, companies to be set. 
    • It is hoped this will help develop local ownership of a large, growing, and strategic sector of the economy.  

Issued by COSATU 

International-#Solidarity 

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ILO welcomes G20 endorsement of human-centred approach to COVID-19 recovery

31 October 2021

Include needs of working people and labour markets in pandemic recovery plans, ILO Director-General tells G20 leaders.

ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, has welcomed the affirmation by leaders of the G20 group of nations that they will adopt human-centred policy approaches in their COVID-19 pandemic recovery plans.

The 
G20 Declaration , agreed at the end of a weekend of talks in Rome , echoed the ILO’s Global Call to Action for a human-centred recovery , adopted by its 187 Member States last June.

Noting the inequalities exacerbated by the 
COVID-19 pandemic , the G20 Declaration underlined the leaders’ commitment to ensuring safe and healthy working conditions, decent work for all, social justice and social dialogue.

Social protection systems will be strengthened, the Declaration stated, in order to reduce inequalities, eradicate poverty, support worker transitions and reintegration in labour markets and to promote inclusive and sustainable growth.

In 
remarks to G20 leaders , the ILO Director-General pointed to the stalled global labour market recovery and the ‘great divergence’ between higher and lower income countries, as highlighted in the latest ILO Monitor report on COVID-19 and the world of work .

“Prospects for labour market recovery remain uneven and uncertain in the face of supply chain disruptions, energy price spikes, inflation worries and debt distress. Recovery depends very much on each country’s capacities to administer the right fiscal stimulus, and on the availability of vaccines,” Ryder said.

“As the world looks to the G20 to intensify its efforts, we need global solutions to the global challenges we face, and we need to include working people and labour markets in that response. We need a human-centred recovery that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient."

Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General

“So as the world looks to the G20 to intensify its efforts, we need global solutions to the global challenges we face, and we need to include working people and labour markets in that response. We need a human-centred recovery that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient,“ he stressed.

Social protection and a just transition to greener economies were also key issues 
highlighted by Ryder in a G20 session on sustainable development . He called on countries to support the Global Accelerator for Jobs and Social Protection, launched by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the UN General Assembly in September.

“We need combined efforts at local, national and international levels to close the global social investment gap,“ Ryder said.

“We further need a just transition to ensure that overall, the employment dividend of preventing climate change is fully met, and more jobs are created overall than are destroyed.”

“We further need a just transition to ensure that overall, the employment dividend of preventing climate change is fully met, and more jobs are created overall than are destroyed."

Guy Ryder

With the global focus turning to the COP26 climate summit, which opens on 31 October, a large part of the G20 Declaration focused on the environment, climate change and energy, as well as financing for sustainable development.

The leaders’ Declaration reaffirmed countries’ commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment, including a commitment to implement the G20 Roadmap Towards and Beyond the Brisbane Goal, and to rapidly enhance the quantity and quality of women’s employment, with particular focus on closing the gender pay gap. In addition, eradicating gender-based violence, bridging the digital gender divide, skills development for young people and the inclusion of migrants and refugees in the response to the pandemic, were prioritized.

The Declaration calls on the ILO, in partnership with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), to continue monitoring progress towards the Antalya Youth Goal – the commitment made by G20 nations to reduce the share of young people who are most at risk of being permanently left behind in the labour market by 15 per cent by 2025.

In addition, the Declaration notes the 2021 Annual International Migration and Forced Displacement Trends and Policies report to the G20, prepared by the OECD in cooperation with the ILO, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

___________

United for a sustainable maritime industry

1 November, 2021

IndustriALL Global Union’s shipbuilding and shipbreaking action group adopted sector activities for the next twelve months and agreed to be united to promote sustainable maritime industry for a just future.

The meeting, held on 29 October, was attended by around 50 trade union representatives from 18 countries. Sector co-chair Kenichi Kanda opened the meeting, saying:

“Our sector has been seriously disrupted by Covid-19. There have been supply chain shortages and a drop in shipping due to lockdowns. We still have excess tonnage. The environmental challenges are becoming more serious, and we also face safety issues and digitalization – but if we ride this wave of change, we can prosper in safe and green workplaces.”

Eileen Yeo Chor Gek, sector co-chair said:

“Our sector is in a better position than it was this time last year, with new ships being built, and the introduction of new technology, including hydrogen fuel propulsion, maintenance drones and autonomous systems. Green shipping is the future: we need to prepare our members for this, to protect jobs and enhance safety.”

The world’s first autonomous, zero emissions ship, the Yara Birkland, has been built in Norway and will have its maiden voyage later this year. Plug-in hybrid passenger ferries are already in operation.

Elspeth Hathaway of IndustriAll Europe said European unions had been very active in pushing Just Transition, with some success. The newly established EU Pact for Skills for the maritime technology sector aims to provide training to 200,000 workers across the industry over the next five years, and is planning to recruit 230,000 new workers over the next ten years. Although the sector – particularly the cruise industry – was hit hard by Covid, the European Union has ambitious plans for green shipping. While the International Maritime Organization has set a target for reducing emissions by 50 per cent by 2050, the EU is aiming for net zero by 2050.

Assistant general secretary Kan Matsusaki gave an overview of the global trends facing the sector, mentioning concerns about the ongoing contested merger between Hyundai Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering. The Korean Metal Workers’ Union said that if the merger is successful, the new company will dominate the global ship building industry, creating massive consolidation around poor labour practices.

Matsuzaki spoke about progress made towards ratifying the Hong Kong Convention for the safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships. 17 countries have now ratified the Convention, passing the threshold of 15. However, because such a large proportion of shipbreaking happens in Bangladesh and Pakistan, ratification by these countries is important.

Vidyadhar Rane of India demonstrated the difference the Convention would make. Since India started complying with the standards of the Convention, facilities have been upgraded and safety has improved. The joint IndustriALL-FNV shipbreaking project has produced a safety manual for workers and succeeded in recruiting thousands of new members.

Matsuzaki also stressed the important of Just Transition, sharing as a model example a Just Transition clause for collective agreements from the Electrical Trades Union of Australia. He introduced the plan for sector activities for 2022. This includes lobbying the governments of Bangladesh and Pakistan to ratify the Hong Kong Convention, and improving women’s participation in the sector and its unions. The sector will also focus on promoting Just Transition and green recovery.

The sector activities for the next twelve months were endorsed by the meeting.  The main focus will be:

  • To create and develop a new trade union network
  • To provide occupational health and safety training in both shipbuilding and shipbreaking, focusing on developing countries
  • To research good practice in promoting gender equality
  • To intensify lobbying activity of the Bangladesh and Pakistan governments to fulfill the requirements of the Homg Kong Convention.

________

UNI Asia & Pacific adopts plan to tackle digital transformation in commerce

28 October 2021

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce and investment in digital technologies have been on the rise—especially in Asia Pacific economies—and new research prepared for UNI Global Union’s Asia & Pacific commerce conference outlines steps needed to keep online retail, automation and digitalization from dragging down standards for all commerce workers in the region.

UNI’s report, “The impact of the digital transition on commerce workers in Asia & Pacific,” singles out how advances in technology—and a growing use of artificial intelligence and “Internet of things” monitoring devices—increases physical and mental toll for warehouse employees, often speeding up work rates and removing human decision making from processes.

Additionally, it highlights how digitalization associated with e-commerce presents a plethora of other issues for commerce workers – from eliminating jobs to the downward pressure on wages, intensification of work  and stress worsened by the use of surveillance systems, and the increase of nonstandard employment in warehousing and logistic centers.

The report shows how this erosion of standards is particularly disturbing given e-commerce warehouse workers’ critical role in meeting community needs during the pandemic. Also, the worsening conditions affect not only e-commerce workers, but they undercut standards for another group of essential workers—traditional retail employees.

But the impact of change does not have to be negative, according to the research. Growing unions, collective bargaining and social partnership in this sector can protect—even advance—conditions and wages. It also offers opportunities for workers to get upskilled, eliminate physically strained job, reaching out to workers via digital tools provided unions are involved at all levels.

For example, the SDA in Australia shows the difference strong unions can have during this period of technological change. By prioritizing better jobs in e-commerce, the union is helping lead the charge in the region to make digitialization work for all commerce workers.

“Periods of rapid technological change, like the agricultural revolution, the subsequent industrial revolution and the current digital revolution have always created social uncertainty. How we order work and how we protect the dignity of those who perform it is always tested,” said Gerard Dwyer, UNI Apro Commerce President and National Secretary/Treasurer of SDA

He continued, “A growing digital economy cannot be ignored by organized labour and allowed to become a tool to undermine industrial and social standards that we fought hard to establish and improve. Unions are challenged to organize and give voice to workers in the digital economy. Governments are challenged to provide labour laws that allow that voice to be heard.”

Shoichi Hachino, Vice President of UNI’s Japanese affiliate UA Zensen said, “Japan is currently facing several challenges – addressing the sharp drop in the working-age population, building the social resilience necessary to overcome the Covid-19 crisis and tackling the threats of digitalization. As unions, we must emphasise a people-centred approach so that workers are not left behind.

At its conference UNI Asia & Pacific’s commerce sector is taking this this research, and Dwyer’s words, to heart by adopting a new plan to build workers’ power in the face of technological change.  

It is adopting a “Fair standards for online workers” resolution to send a signal to governments that they must act to require “all businesses operating in online commerce and delivery to comply with their industrial and legal obligations to employees and to advocate for secure and direct employment of workers.”

It is also taking up a “Inclusive growth through technological change” platform to make sure that workers are able to take advantage of new job opportunities created by new technologies. This training must be properly funded and should be part of an overall strategy to improve the industry through cooperation by employers, unions and governments.

These resolutions and more organizing in the face of digitalization are needed in the Asia & Pacific region and beyond to stop the rise of e-commerce from being the downfall of good retail jobs.

The report, commissioned by UNI, was written by Syndex with support from the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.

__________________________

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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