Looming retrenchments in both the public and private sectors topped the agenda of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu’s) shopstewards’ council in KwaZulu-Natal. Shopstewards who are members of unions affiliated to the labour federation held their meeting in Durban, to outline some of the programmes aimed at dealing with the challenges workers are facing.

Cosatu is mobilising its members to be in the forefront of the fight against planned retrenchments. The African National Congress‘ Nontembeko Boyce says government should come up with strategies to stop planned retrenchments.

“We can’t be fighting the private sector threatening workers that they will lose jobs, but public entities are threatening that they are going to retrench, in fact I know that they are no longer threatening the SABC has already invoked so it says section 189, when someone is retrenched from a public entity, an SOE the reality is that that person is retrenched by a government entity, a government that ought to be protecting the workers, and ensuring that the creation of jobs is a priority. We are increasing the number of unemployed people.”

Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal Cosatu Chairperson Skhumbuzo Mdlalose says planned retrenchments will contribute to the already high unemployment rate and poverty.

“ And if you look at the vision of private sector companies and including the government that aims to shed about 30 000 jobs and we are being actually being misled and confused to say that these 30 000 jobs are going to actually be shed in order to advance service delivery, we are told that the public service is bloated , it must be curtailed in order to advance service delivery, our understanding is that the creation of more job opportunities is part of service delivery, we are from the job summit that said there will be a moratorium on retrenchments.”