TRADE union federation COSATU has warned government against undermining collective bargaining and the multi-year wage agreement.
The labour federation’s president Zingiswa Losi, addressing May Day celebrations in Johannesburg, said government’s hostile stance against workers could destabilise labour relations in South Africa.
“We will not allow government and employers to destroy collective bargaining,” said Losi.
“Workers have the right to a living wage. We will not allow government and employers to destroy collective bargaining. The real reasons why government’s finances are in a crisis is because politicians and their friends have looted it to the point of collapse.”
She said it is politicians and their friends and family who have destroyed the country’s State-Owned Enterprises.
“It is business who have robbed SARS of billions. Now government wants to dump the bill for corruption on nurses earning R186000 per annum. This is the height of immorality,” said Losi.
ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa, who attended the virtual May Day celebrations at Cosatu House, promised workers he won’t allow this to happen even as unions face off against the government in court over wage increases.
Ramaphosa said the ANC has heeded the call to return to the wage bargaining table
“Yes, we should return to the bargaining table and have thoroughgoing negotiations with labour in this regard. The ANC led government reaffirms its commitment to protecting collective bargaining and all other labour rights that many workers sacrificed so much for,’ said Ramaphosa.
“The ANC-led government reaffirms its commitment to protecting collective bargaining and all other labour rights that many workers sacrifice so much for. This sentiment has been endorsed by comrade Senzo Mchunu, who is the responsible minister in the public service as recently as this week.”
The government went to court to avoid paying the three-year wage increase it promised to its employees. Instead, it’s offering no increase this year, saying it can’t afford any hikes.
Cosatu believes this is an attack on collective bargaining, something that deserves a strong reaction.
Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi said: “starting with the current deadlock in the public service wage negotiations. Unions and social organisations should respond with militancy and programmes of the mass line. This means embarking on mass picketing, going for sympathy strikes and solidarity rallies.”
Upcoming public wage talks and the unions’ Constitutional Court challenge to get their wage increase will test whether the government will follow through on the president’s commitment.
- Staff Reporter