Tomorrow, 7 October, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) national strike takes place throughout South Africa. COSATU has dubbed this day ‘the Global Day for Decent Work’ stating: “South Africa is teetering on the brink of collapse and it is about time we all stand up and demand urgent action from policymakers and decision-makers”.
The purpose of the strike is to protest corruption, retrenchments and unemployment, gender-based violence, attacks on collective bargaining, wages and poor working conditions, health and safety and public transport.
Major disruptions are expected. COSATU stated they are convening this action under the COVID-19 lockdown level one regulations. Louise Thipe, 2nd deputy president of COSATU stated clearly: “We are not going to encourage taking the law into our hands, but we want government to really come up with a tenable solution…”.
Historic Unity of Rival & Affiliate Unions
In a historic move, rival and affiliate unions have joined together in supporting the strike:
– COSATU: 1.8 million members; affiliated with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).
– South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU): 800,000 members.
– Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA): 556,000 members; affiliated with ITUC.
– National Council of Trade Unions (NACTU): 397,000 members; affiliated with ITUC.
COSATU Activity and Statement
The activities planned for the strike can be found in this detailed document issued by COSATU.
COSATU has called for workers all across the country to stay at home and yesterday, 5 October, stated:
“We shall be convening socially distanced pickets and motorcades across all the nine provinces and in many identified towns and cities (see the attached programme). This decentralisation of our activities will ensure that workers are involved and are all able to participate in all over the country but also that our activities do not spread this deadly virus…
It is the workers who built this country and its economy, and we continue to keep the wheels of this economy turning. This is the time for workers to remember that they are their own liberators, the is no saviour for us and it upon us to work together to fix this mess for the better. We must organise, mobilise and be ready to fight relentlessly to shape a future that is free of exploitation, corruption, unemployment, poverty, and inequality.”