As the world celebrates workers’ achievements, the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) has raised concerns over, what it terms, capitalism’s tendency to reduce costs of production and maximise profit. The federation says such actions risk reversing gains made in bid to eradicate the exploitation of workers.
The federation has also paid homage to workers who died fighting to improve the working conditions of workers everywhere in the world.
“It is the struggles the organised and unorganised battalions of the working class have engaged in over time that in some instances been successful in creating a labour regime which abolished child labour, lessened the working hours from 12 – 16 hours per day in the first industrial revolution to minimum of 7 hours per day in the third industrial revolution, lessened the working week, worked for improved safety and health of workers at workplaces, improved wages and improved working conditions overall including socio-economic gains in terms of housing and car allowances,” the federation says.
Saftu has recommitted itself to continue campaigning against the amendments to the labour laws, which it says seek to undermine the hard won right of South African workers to strike and picket.
“We will continue to fight to ensure that the CCMA has sufficient funding so that it can employ commissioners on full time. We commit to ensure that the CCMA can service workers including the walk-ins so that workers are not left to the mercy of the bosses.”
Saftu has also slammed the high unemployment rate in the country, graft, public sector wage freeze, retrenchments at state-owned entities and the non-payment of workers by SAA and Denel, among others.
It is also blaming incompetence and a lack of political will for the slow pace of the country’s COVID-19 rollout, branding the plan a failure.
“We are extremely concerned about the mismanagement of the healthcare system, continued COVID-19 tenderpreneurship corruption (now apparently also involving Health Minister Zweli Mkhize through the ‘Digital Vibes’ tenderpreneurship), worsening retrenchment levels, and the lack of government fiscal support to so many suffering communities.
While the ruling party twiddles its thumbs over whether corrupt officials should belatedly step down, the possibilities of a new outbreak and new variants are not getting the attention they deserve. We need to be on a war footing to defeat corporate profiteers and the neoliberal Treasury,” says the federation.
Saftu has called on African workers to join in the federation’s struggle to defeat “the tyrants” and install workers government that will take land, mineral wealth to build a new Africa that will no longer tolerate imperialist inspired wars and famine.
Below is the federation’s full statement: