Cosatu workers to send stern message to government even under conditions of Covid-19

Johannesburg- Thousands of workers will paint streets of cities red on Thursday to send the message to the government and employers that workers are willing to fight even under conditions of Covid-19.

The marches coincide with election campaigns of political parties and are a show of force by workers.

Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla told Sunday World that all provincial structures of the country’s biggest federation were ready for the national marches next week.

The federation and its affiliates expanded their plans on Friday following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to take the country to level 1 of Coronavirus alert level.

“All provinces have made logistical arrangements and they are ready. Initially, they planned to have 500 workers in a march but now with relaxed level 1, the numbers will be increased to a maximum of 2000,” he said.

“There will be marshals in all marches to keep social distance, masking and sanitisers will be provided,” he added.

Decent work, doing away with labour broking, outsourcing, casual and part-time work and the problems associated with extended public works programme (EPWP) were among some of the issues workers want to highlight.

Also high on the list is demand for action against corruption in the state, defence of collective bargaining and health and safety at workplaces.

The marches throughout the country will be taking place against the backdrop of the election campaigns by parties including the ANC.

The demonstrations come days after Cosatu’s central committee meeting last week.

In a show of anger towards the governing ANC, Sunday World reported that Cosatu affiliates rejected a crowdfunding initiative for the ruling party, which has been struggling to pay salaries of its staff members.

Workers expressed their anger over the government’s decision to renege on the 2018 wage agreement and the subsequent three years’ salary increase freeze.

“The message to government and employers is that we are willing to stand up and fight, even under COVID 19. The message to workers is that we need to unite and fight because we only get what we fight for. They will be no handouts from employers,” Pamla said.

Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi will be leading workers in Johannesburg, where workers will deliver a memorandum to Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s and then proceed to the Minerals Council of South Africa’s offices.

The federation’s treasurer Freda Oosthuizen will be at the forefront of the march to the City of Cape Town, where they expected mayor Dan Plato to receive a memorandum of demands from workers.

To read more political news and views from this week’s newspaper, click here. 

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