Taking COSATU Today Forward, 25 November 2021

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Norman Mampane

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Nov 25, 2021, 6:02:37 AM11/25/21
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COSATU TODAY

#2021YearofCosatuLocals

#Back2Basics

COSATU holds Vulnerable Worker’s Workshop at Boksburg

#16DaysofActivism

#JoinCOSATUNow

#ClassConsciousness

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

 

Our side of the story

Thursday, 25 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!
  • Mpumalanga Unemployment Insurance Fund taking services to the people of Bushbuckridge
  • South Africa
  • COSATUCentral Executive CommitteeStatement
  • International-Workers’ Solidarity!
  • Make Amazon Pay coalition announces global programme of strikes and protests in at least 20 countries on Black Friday

Ø  16 days of action

Workers’ Parliament-Back2Basics 

Mpumalanga Unemployment Insurance Fund taking services to the people of Bushbuckridge

24 November 2021

The Department of Employment and Labour in Mpumalanga, in an effort to improve services and in its quest to bring the Department at the door steps of residents, will conduct an integrated service delivery by taking services to the people of Bushbuckridge. The services will be delivered in accordance with the district model service delivery campaign.

This necessitates the collaboration of government departments in order to provide responsive, adaptive services that bring development to where it is most needed, effectively, efficiently, and economically.

Ms Evelyn Baholo, Deputy Director Unemployment Insurance Fund said: “The Department previously visited Bushbuckridge and surrounding areas and were overwhelmed by the number of enquiries hence we decided to return to the area". 

The following services will be rendered:

  • UIF registration.
  • Assessment, processing and payment of UIF claims.
  • Resolving general UIF enquiries.
  • COID services
  • Public Employment Services (PES)

Members of the public that wish to be assisted on the above-mentioned services are encouraged to bring along the following documents:

  • ID Documents/Valid Passport
  • Completed UI.19 form
  • UI2.8 form 
  • Salary schedule

Herewith the service delivery campaign dates:

Date: Thursday, 25 November 2021 - Twin City Shopping Complex

Date: Friday, 26 November 2021 - Bushbuckridge Mall

Time:  08:00 -16:00

The service delivery campaign will be managed in compliance with COVID-19 regulations.

For more information, contact:

Joe Maswanganyi

Provincial Communication Officer

066 115 5678

"Please continue adhering to the lockdown regulations. Wash hands or sanitise your hands regularly and wear your mask at all times."

-ENDS-

Issued by: Department of Employment and Labour

South Africa

COSATUCentral Executive CommitteeStatement

 

Bheki Ntshalintshali, COSATU General Secretary, 25 November2021 

  1. Introduction

 

The Congress of South African Trade Unions held a successful Central Executive Committee meeting from 22-24 November 2021 to discuss several issues affecting the workers, and the working class in general.

 

The meeting was attended by the COSATU National Office Bearers, provincial leaders, and leaders of affiliated unions. 

 

Today’s Press briefing is taking place within the context of the global village launching the 16 Days of Activism against Women and Children.

 

We urge all communities to actively participate in the campaign to eradicate abuse of women and children.

 

Next month, COSATU will celebrate its 36th Anniversary on the 1st of December. We urge workers to celebrate all the successes of the federation at their Locals where we have prioritised building the organization of the ground.

 

  1. Organisationally 

The CEC reflected on the challenges facing the labour movement and mandated the federation to elevate its work of building a strong class-conscious movement of shop-stewards that is united beyond the narrow divisions of their sectors or unions.

This calls for a dedicated approach to the resuscitation of the locals throughout the country.

Solid locals are very key in strengthening the organizational capacity of COSATU in order to position it to play its pivotal role to respond to the current challenges and targets that it set for itself.

This means that we need to strengthen our resolve to stick to our long-held traditions of worker control, class consciousness and placing service to members at the centre of our overall programme.

This must also include a concerted fight against any creeping of bureaucratism, labour aristocracy or business unionism within the trade union movement in general.

NEHAWU Congress- The meeting congratulated NEHAWU for convening a successful national congress. This is in keeping with the founding traditions of the Federation of worker control, democracy and accountability.  

Provincial Congresses- All provinces have been directed by the CEC to convene their provincial congresses in January 2022 in keeping with the Constitutional injunctions but also in preparation for the National Congress in September next year 

 

SACCAWU Strike-TheCECoffered its full support to the workers at Massmart who are pushing back against the undermining of their rights and the unilateralism that has been adopted by a hostile employer. 

 

We call on employers to accede to the fair and legitimate demands of these workers. 

 

May Day:The May Day celebrations will continue to be decentralised across the country with the National Celebrations taking place in Marikana, North West Province.

 

  1. Campaigns

 

Gender Based Violence- The CEC applauded all affiliates for campaigning against gender-based violence and demanding for the ratification of ILO Convention 190 on Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the world of Work.

 

The fight against GBV is an ongoing fight that demands everyone’s participation. The final steps of South Africa’s ratification will be concluded shortly. 

 

We welcome Parliament’s progress on the three Gender-Based Violence Bills because these will be important weapons in the fight against GBV. 

 

We urge South Africans to embrace the message that is being communicated during the 16 days of activism against women and children.

We all have a role to play in this fight against Gender based violence.

South Africa is currently commemorating the Disability Awareness Rights Month and we equally urge all workers and their families to ensure that all persons living with disability are treated with respect and dignity.

All workers living with disabilities must enjoy their right to, amongst others, to easily access their workplace.

 

COVID-19:The meeting expressed concern over the notable rise in COVID-19 infections and called on all South Africans to continue to take this deadly virus seriously.

 

This is no time to be complacent because any reckless behaviour puts both the lives and the economy at risk.  

 

Vaccination -We congratulate all workers and their families who participated in the national vaccination program. We reiterate our call on workers and South Africans in general to vaccinate.

 

We will redouble our efforts to engage and mobilise workers and their families to vaccinate because this is key to saving lives and livelihoods. 

 

The federation and its unions are making progress, and we are well on our way to  achieving the 80% vaccination rate of our members and officials.

 

  1. Socio-economic 

 

Impact of Austerity Budget Cuts-The South African government’s fervent adherence to failing Neoliberal policies is reckless and a betrayal of the working class. 

 

The recent mid-term budget policystatementhas continued the austerity trajectory, and this will make attempts to resuscitate the economy virtually impossible. These budget cuts have decimated the CCMA, the school sanitation programme, and affect the teacher learner ratio.

 

The recent crime statistics are a reminder of the devastating impact that budget cuts are having on service delivery.

 

Law enforcement agencies are not just struggling with staff shortages, but they are also poorly equipped.

 

We intend to work with other progressive organisations to demand a people centred budget speech in February next year. 

 

The July riots were a reminder that the current economic mismanagement has real consequences like social dislocation and upheavals. The capitalist system is failing in every sphere of human activity, to deliver any results.

 

No further social progress can be attained at the back of a capitalist system.

 

It is a system that has become more obsolete and irrational. It is therefore the role of the trade union movement to build revolutionary class-consciousness to inform workers of the fundamental solutions to the current crisis and capitalist society. 

 

State-Owned-Enterprises-TheCECexpressed concern about the continued deterioration of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs). 

 

The meeting resolved to continue to put together ideas that will contribute towards fixing the economy and this includes coming up with clear solutions on saving State Owned Entities. Government needs to work with labour and business to develop clear road maps to get these SOEs back on a sustainable trajectory. Retrenching workers or failing to pay them their salaries is not acceptable.  

 

Eskom- The Federation intends to continue to constructively contribute to a process of finding a solution to the electricity crisis facing the country. 

 

The allegations of sabotage that have been raised by Eskom leadership need to be thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators arrested. 

 

We demand that Eskom prioritise investing in local manufacturing of renewal energy generation. It is critical that a Just Transition for mines and electricity power plants that have reached the end of their life span is put in place so that no workers are left behind. 

 

Corruption and Wasteful Expenditure-TheCECcalled for the intensification of the fight against corruption and wasteful expenditure. 

 

We reiterate our call for centralisation of public procurement of large items, the introduction of an online open public procurement platform, the establishment of rapid response anti-corruption courts, and most critically the banning of Politically Exposed Persons and their spouses and children from doing business with the state. 

 

The Federation welcomes government’s commitment to tabling the Public Procurement Bill at Nedlac by the end of 2021. 

 

Basic Income Grant- The CEC has committed itself to exerting more pressure on government for the introduction of the Basic Income Grant in South Africa.  The government needs to extend the Covid-19 Special Relief Dispensation Grant, and increase it to the food poverty line and build upon it to achieve a Basic Income Grant. 

 

Buy Local Campaign- We also intend to contribute positively in the promotion of #BuyLocal campaign by ensuring that all our unions and structures procure local goods to save jobs.

 

The government and the private sector need to play their role in supporting local procurement. 

 

The recent designation of locally produced cement for public infrastructure is a welcome step in this regard. 

 

UIF AND SASRIA -The CEC acknowledged progress made by government to dispense over R32.9 billion through the various relief measures provided for to victims of the July violence in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. 

 

But the delays by the UIF in paying workers who lost their wages is totally unacceptable call on the Minister of Labour to attend to this matter urgently.

 

It is disappointing that government does not have a plan to improve the capacity of the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s archaic systems that have made it difficult for workers to get their money on time.   

 

We also call on government to intervene and make sure that SASRIA provides relief to all companies including the small ones that are being left behind for some bureaucratic reasons.

 

Pension Withdrawal Scheme- The meeting welcomed Treasury’s commitment to release a policy paper and then table an Amendment Bill in the February Budget providing for distressed workers limited access to their pension funds.  This needs to be expedited because it will provide badly needed relief to highly indebted workers.  The meeting insisted that this should include both public and private sector workers. 

 

Legislation- COSATU looks forward to Parliament’s passing the Compensation of Injury on Duty Amendment Bill which will extend cover to over 800000 domestic workers as well as include cover for occupational diseases and post-traumatic stress. 

 

This will benefit mine workers, security personnel and women in particular.  

The Federation is pleased with Parliament’s progress in processing the Employment Equity Bill which will broaden cover for persons with disabilities and will help advance the cause of employment equity in workplaces.

 

Companies Amendment Bill - The CEC welcomed Nedlac’ s processing of the Companies Amendment Bill and looks forward to its tabling at Parliament by 2022.

 

The Federation rejects the hypocritical attacks on it by some opportunist individuals in Organised Business. Such behaviour undermines Nedlac as BUSA was part of the Nedlac engagements on the Bill and largely endorsed its provisions and objectives. 

 

COSATU strongly supports and will defend this progressive, transformational and long overdue Bill. It compels listed companies to disclose their wage gaps and for these to be included in their Annual Reports.

 

This will be an important tool to begin reducing the Apartheid wage gaps still prevalent in the private sector.

 

It requires the full identity of company ownership to be disclosed in line with international requirements to combat money laundering, state capture and terrorism. It obliges companies to share their financial reports with trade unions.

 

This is important to ensure wage negotiations take place in a fair and transparent manner and will help contribute towards labour market stability. 

 

  1. On Politics 

 

Year 2022 – The Year of Congresses/Conferences-Thismeetingreflected and noted that next year will be one of the busiest and most politically consequential year for all Alliance partners with all of them convening their important Constitutional meetings, including electing new leaders. 

 

This means a lot of political work must be done to deal particularly with the unfortunate aspect of the current political landscape, which is the obsessive focus on divisive leadership contests, especially within the ANC. 

 

This problematically endemic politics around personalities or slates within the ANC, in part makes it impossible for the organizational renewal.

 

But also, it would be a mistake to believe that the other components of the Alliance or Mass Democratic Movement are immune from the influence of these corrosive tendencies that are typically endemic in mass organisations.

 

We all need to collectively work to dislodge the networks of patronage that thrive in an environment where there are declining levels of class consciousness and discipline. 

 

These are major challenges facing the entire movement and they are deeply connected to the extreme inequalities, rampant capitalist exploitation and culture of personal accumulation that defines our society, including the trade union movement in terms of business unionism. 

 

NDR and the Balance of class forces -As we have recognised before, unless the working class is united, is ideologically independent as a class and develops its own capacity to raise itself onto a hegemonic position in key centres of power the radical second phase runs the risk of being reduced into a pipedream.

 

In fact, the current difficult economic climate and mismanagement of some of the key State-Owned Enterprises (especially Eskom) have become added armaments for the enemies of the NDR and even for pockets of the Neoliberal forces within the state seeking to derail or dilute the radical second phase.

 

Their calls for privatisation have become increasingly loud at a time when the central task is to build a capable developmental state. 

 

This is a huge challenge and a big test that the working class cannot afford to fail because the consequences are too horrifying to imagine.

 

Local Government Elections -The CEC congratulated all South Africans who came out to vote and exercise their democratic rights and also strengthened and consolidated our democracy.

 

The meeting also expressed its deep appreciation to the millions of workers and South Africans who came out to vote for the African National Congress {ANC} in the 2021LocalGovernmentElections. The results were deeply disappointing with the ANCs share of the national vote decreasing dramatically to below the 50% mark. 

 

The Federation plans to convene a political Commission to do a comprehensive analysis of the local government elections outcomes and their impact on the NDR and the Alliance. We also intend to push for an urgent Alliance Summit to do a thorough and honest a post-mortem analysis of the elections and outcomes of the coalition talks.

 

This Alliance summit is necessary to discuss the content, character and direction of the National Democratic Revolution.  

 

The Federation will work with SAMWU to ensure that the newly elected councillors and newly formed Coalitions respect workers.

 

  1. International  

 

Swaziland-The CEC expressed concern over the brutalisation of all those who are fighting for democracy in Swaziland.  

 

We condemn the violence by the regime directed at political activists, and call on all peace-loving and freedom loving South Africans to support the struggle for a free and democratic Swaziland.

 

We plan to work to support the Swazi trade union movement and improve our solidarity work for the Swaziland workers. 

AU-Israel- The people of Palestine continue to be subjected to terrible conditions by the Israel –apartheid brutality. Israel continues its settlements expansion in Palestinian territories and scores of Palestinians are getting killed in the seizure of their lands. 

We reaffirm our solidarity with the people of Palestine and we are calling for an end to the evictions of the Palestine man and woman and the brutalization of its children.

The Federation supports the formation of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital and the Israelis must affirm the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland.

Cuba-The economy of CUBA continues to be strangled by economic sanctions imposed by the US government.

 

The Cuban regime is still subjected to political machinations and interference by United States. The federation has resolved to continue to campaign against the American interference in Cuba and offers its full support to the people of Cuba. 

 

We shall continue to mobilise resources to ensure that we give humanitarian support to the resilient people of Cuba.

 

Venezuela-The CEC congratulates President Maduro and his allies for winning 20 of 23 governor posts, as well as the mayorship of the capital Caracas in the recently held elections.

 

This is testament to the resilience of the people of Venezuela who have refused to bullied by the US imperial offensive against their government and country. 

 

End!

Issued by COSATU

International-Solidarity 

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Make Amazon Pay coalition announces global programme of strikes and protests in at least 20 countries on Black Friday

 

18 November 2021

The Make Amazon Pay coalition of over 70 trade unions, civil society organisations,  environmentalists and tax watchdogs including UNI Global Union, the Progressive International, Oxfam, Greenpeace, 350.org, Tax Justice Network and Amazon Workers International has announced a global programme of strikes and protests in at least 20 countries on Black Friday, 26 November 2021, to demand Amazon pays its workers fairly and respects their right to join unions, pays its fair share of taxes and commits to real environmental sustainability.  

Make Amazon Pay was launched a year ago as 50 organisations came together to deliver a set of Common Demands on the two trillion dollar company, holding strikes and protests in 16 countries around the world on 27 November 2020. This year’s actions are set to be much larger with strikes and protests planned in multiple cities in at least 20 countries across every inhabited continent on earth. 

The global day of action will bring together activists from different struggles - labour, environment, tax, data, privacy, anti-monopoly - as trade unionists, civil society activists and environmentalists hold joint actions. Members of the public can add their name to the Common Demands, donate to the campaign and find an action near them to join on Black Friday at MakeAmazonPay.com 

This year’s actions will call attention to the scale of Amazon’s role in the global economy. Further to the strikes and protests around the world, Make Amazon Pay has chosen eight locations to represent the depth of Amazon’s abuse and the scale and unity of resistance to it. 

Christy Hoffman, UNI Global Union’s General Secretary, said:

“The workers, advocates and elected officials coming together to #MakeAmazonPay have captured the world’s imagination and are changing the way the public perceives Amazon. 

“On global action days like Black Friday, we are seeing how the movement pushing to change the rules of our economy and challenge corporate power is growing bolder and stronger. More and more people are asking more questions about Amazon´s brutal anti-union behaviour, antisocial tax-dodging practices and obsession with control. 

“As we are seeing all over the world, workers—whether they are coders, pickers, drivers or UX designers—are marching, striking and raising their voices together to demand the dignity and respect that comes with a union. Solidarity doesn’t scare easily, and Amazon will not break workers’ alliances.” 

 

Casper Gelderblom, Make Amazon Pay coordinator at the Progressive International, said:

“From natural resource extraction, to manufacturing; from shipping and storing products around the world to delivering them to consumers; from controlling untold amounts of data and management to influencing our governments: Amazon takes workers, people and the planet for a ride.

“Amazon may be everywhere, but we are too. At every link in this chain of abuse, we are fighting back to Make Amazon Pay. On Black Friday 26 November 2021, around the world, workers and activists will rise up in strikes, protests and actions to Make Amazon Pay.

Representing more than 20 million workers in 150 countries, UNI Global Union is driven by the responsibility to ensure skills and service jobs are decent jobs and that workers’ rights are protected, including the right of union representation and collective bargaining.          

The Progressive International launched in May 2020 with a mission to unite, organise, and mobilise progressive forces around the world. The PI is supported by an advisory Council that includes Noam Chomsky, Aruna Roy, Vijay Prashad, Andres Arauz, Naomi Klein, Yanis Varoufakis, Fernando Haddad, Gustavo Petro, and many others. Members of the PI include social movements, political parties, and trade unions that represent millions of people around the world.

______

16 days of action

25 November, 2021

Women in our industries and unions have the right to an environment free from gender-based violence, and it is the responsibility of each and every trade union leader to take necessary action in this direction. Today, 25 November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls and the start of 16 days of activism against violence. Let’s mobilize now, as well as all other days of the year, to put an end to gender-based violence and harassment.

Union leaders must commit themselves to the implementation of ILO Convention 190 (C 190) and Recommendation 206 (R 206) on elimination of violence and harassment, including gender-based violence, in the world of work.

Eliminating gender-based violence requires education and awareness-raising. Despite increased efforts by our unions to raise awareness and educate workers and their members, many in our industries and structures are still unaware of what gender-based violence really is, what women's rights are and how to deal with the issue. Trade union and workers’ representatives are at the frontline of the fight against gender-based violence in the world of work. It is crucial to continue to educate on ILO C190 and provide the necessary tools to better understand, prevent and respond to violence against women.

IndustriALL has developed a series of tools to better equip our affiliates to address gender-based violence and to implement the ILO C 190 and R 206.

  • Joint toolkit, launched in June 2021
  • Domestic violence is a workplace issue - FAQs on how to mitigate the impact of domestic violence in the workplace

Let's use this material!

To date, nine countries have ratified ILO C190 - let’s continue to campaign for its ratification!

Join us on social networks and share testimonies, good practices and all kinds of information and materials to raise awareness about what gender-based violence, including sexism and sexual harassment, is, to deconstruct myths and gender stereotypes contributing to gender-based violence and let us know what actions our unions can take.

Please use and share IndustriALL’s campaign material.

Let’s continue to mobilize during the 16 days of activism, and make our campaign 365 days to end gender-based violence and harassment.

#ItCanChangeLives

__________________________

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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