The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi says Wednesday’s joint strike with the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) comes at a perfect time as the country battles the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has exposed many weaknesses in public health care.
The labour federations will join forces in the nationwide protest against job losses, Gender-based violence and corruption.
They have urged members to stay at home and not go to work as part of the one-day strike.
Cosatu and Saftu have vowed that the strike will bring the country to a standstill.
Vavi says the public health care system is dysfunctional.
He says, “There can be no better time to highlight the crisis of the public health care that is completely dysfunctional for the working majority but just serves a tiny minority for those who are rich and are on medical aid. We coming from the COVID-19 crisis. What did that crisis expose? Chronic shortages of the staff, chronic shortages of the infrastructure… So if we do not strike now we will not highlight the crisis in the public health care.”
In the video below, Vavi says they will make a human chain around the Union Building:
Collective bargaining agreement
Over the weekend, Cosatu and the Federation of Union South Africa announced measures to pressurise government to honour the two parties’ collective bargaining agreement.
The public sector unions accuse the government of reneging on the collective wage bargaining deal that would have resulted in them getting a more than 5% salary increase.
However, the government says it has frozen the pay increase in an effort to stabilise the economy which has been seriously affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
In the video below, Cosatu Vice President, Mike Shingange says they have no option but to go on strike:
Director of Nascence Advisory and economist Xhanti Payi speaks about the economic implications of the strike: