The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has called on the government to expand the public sector by employing more public servants.
Addressing the federation’s workers’ day gathering in Durban on Monday, Vavi says the government needs to pay civil servants better salaries.
“Demand number one is jobs for the unemployed, a minimum living wage of R75 per hour for every worker or a minimum of R12 500 for every worker, expansion of the public sector so that more teachers, more nurses more police, more correctional services officers, more social workers, more traffic officers can be hired and be better paid, ” He adds.
VIDEO: Saftu’s Zwelinzima Vavi addresses May Day celebrations in Durban:
Hundreds of workers, members of unions affiliated to SAFTU attended the federation’s Workers Day celebrations.
Some workers believe the government has failed them. One of them is Nirasha Pillay. “The biggest disappointment about the plight of the workers is that the employment rate for the public sector is not in line with the population growth, if you look at the population growth it has increased drastically to millions, yet the public sector instead remains stagnant or actually it decreases.”
“If you look at the number of service providers compared to the population growth, we are very little in number yet when the government talks about increases they are not looking if it is in line with the population growth and actually compare it to the billions in their budget which is totally not fair to the workers.”
Others say the struggle for better wages continues. Sboniso Mbatha and Scelo Ngcetshani say they joined unions hoping they will be able to fight for better wages. But, they are disappointed that the government is not doing enough to ensure that workers are paid well for their labour.
“At work, we join unions so they can fight for us to get better wages however the government is reversing the workers’ gains; government forgets that we have families that we are feeding. Workers Day the 1st of May in 1973 workers embarked on an unprotected strike fighting for better wages looking back we are very proud of what those workers did through it we are enjoying workers’ rights.”