The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) will embark on a national strike in the country’s nine provinces to send a message of no retrenchments and jobs for all.

The labour federation announced this in Johannesburg on Tuesday following its special one-day Central Executive Committee meeting.

It says workers will down tools on the 13 February in eight provinces with a march planned in Cape Town on the eve of the Budget Speech scheduled for the 19 February.

Cosatu says the strike is a legally protected one that all workers can join.

Cosatu’s president Zingiswa Losi says the march will highlight the continuing shedding of jobs.

“In government,  in the public and in the private sector, to also focus on what we are raising here, the issue of skilling and re-skilling workers because if you are going to bring  technology, you should know your company; how you want it to perform; what kind of technology you are going to produce; and therefore, do you have the skills?  (You) should be able to do the skills audit so that no worker loses employment, but you are going to put them on skilling and re-skilling to avoid retrenchments and enable them to be competitive in driving the business; in ensuring that the company will also make profit so that workers and those that are unemployed will be able to get employed.”

The federation is demanding that Thursday’s State of the Nation Address includes interventions needed to restructure the economy.

The labour federation says it expects President Cyril Ramaphosa to outline how more labour-absorbing and decent jobs will be created and how SMMEs will be assisted to gain access to credit.

It also wants more information on plans to strengthen public institutions and the mining sector.

Losi says in Cosatu’s experience policies discussed and agreed to in the alliance sometimes do not find their way into government’s programme.

“At one point, someone said you have been raising issues that have been raised since the new dispensation. It’s 25 years now and we say the reason why we continue to raise them is because nothing has happened. All those aspects or very little. So, we are raising these issues that are our expectations because we want to see now the president speaking more on how these things will be achieved. Because in black and white it is fine, but we want to see how the plan is to be implemented.”

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