Cosatu protest march over decent wages

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Cosatu’s provincial secretary in the North West, Kopano Konopi says petrol attendants, security guards as well as farm and domestic workers, remain the country’s most vulnerable workers as they continue to endure the most difficult conditions.

Konopi was speaking at a Cosatu gathering were scores of workers from its affiliate unions converged at four of the North West regions including Lichtenburg, for a protest march over decent wages.

This is part of Cosatu World Day for decent work in the province. Konopi added that working together with relevant stakeholders like the Labour department will ensure that vulnerable workers are given proper dignity and recognition. Workers were united in their demand for better wages and working conditions in all sectors.

“The farm workers must also be involved, they must also have their union so that their voice must be heard,” one worker said.

“We are here as workers to picket and we are going to picket on a daily basis to say that the leadership that is being led by comrade Cyril Ramaphosa has failed us,” another worker elaborates.

“More workers in the private sector are vulnerable, specifically from the farms, from retail,” another worker explains.

Konopi is calling for more action to ensure all workers have access to the national minimum wage.

“So far, we have achieved a national minimum wage of about R3 500 which has been adjusted in the past year but we believe that this is not enough because we cannot put sufficient food for workers on the plate and they cannot take care of their whole families and their livelihood. If you look at the domestic sector, every household is an employer. So we are trying to work with our union Sassawu to organise as workers so that we can be able to organize them and overall we are trying to work with the Department of Labour to adjust the sectoral determination to be closer to the national minimum wage,” says Konopi.

The federation’s memorandum of demands was accepted by the North West MEC for Finance, Motlalepula Rosho.

“We have received the memorandum. There are discussions that are ongoing with Cosatu in terms of their demands, especially with the resolution of 2018 that they are continuously raising, there is continuous engagement.   So this will now be disseminated to our executive council under the stewardship of honourable Premier Maape. He will immediately take it national level so that as cabinet sits they are able to reflect on all Cosatu matter,” says Rosho.

VIDEO: Cosatu March – Sanco provincial secretary in North West Packet Seaketso on reasons for the march