‘Workers are poor’ – Affiliate union Haitu slams Cosatu, ANC alliance

The Health and Allied Workers Indaba Trade Union (Haitu) has questioned how the  relationship between the country’s leading labour federation, Cosatu, and ANC was benefiting workers.

Haitu President Rich Sicina told Sunday World that this was due to healthcare workers in the public sector being among the poorest in the country.

Sicina said Haitu was sick and tired of Cosatu. He accused it of partnering up with the employer at the expense of workers. He was referring to the tripartite alliance that Cosatu enjoys with the governing ANC and the SACP.

“We are sick and tired of the fake performance of Cosatu and its affiliates who annually celebrate this very important workers’ day with our butcher, the ANC government. This relationship has resulted in workers being betrayed. They are betrayed by the very same unions which are supposed to defend them,” he said.

Little to celebrate on Workers’ Day

His comments came as the world commemorated the annual Workers’ Day on May 1.

Sicina expressed grief with the commemoration of International Workers Day. He claimed that there is little to celebrate for healthcare workers.

­“We have jobs but the salaries we are paid are so small. The working conditions we are exposed to are so shocking. This does not give us much of a reason to celebrate Workers Day,” said Sicina.

He added that during the days of apartheid, workers bravely took up battles against the brutal system. This was with the hope that, democracy would translate into a better life. Especially for the dispossessed black majority.

“But it was not to be. It seems the sacrifices we made were in vain. Working in a public hospitals in South Africa means that you are surrounded by death and despair. This is because of the collapsing infrastructure. And you are often forced to work without enough medication or basic resources for patients.”

4,7% increase “pathetic”

According to Sicina, health workers in the country live from hand to mouth. And workers in the public health sector were given a pathetic 4,7% increase.

“The increase is an insult! Cosatu and its affiliates continue to deliberately mislead the working class into supporting the ANC. [The ANC] is brutalising them every single day in the workplace. We will never get tired of saying this. The alliance is a sell-out arrangement and this is why workers in the public sector will always suffer. Because their trade union leadership is sleeping with the enemy.”

He labelled politicians as opportunists who use failures generated by the government’s poor decision-making to attack workers.

“There’s still a gross shortage of staff and material resources. And our buildings are dilapidated. Nobody cares, and this is why we say health care workers are on their own.”

Cosatu was yet to respond by the time of publication. This story will be updated when the trade union federation comments.

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