Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has called for a national strike over SA’s ‘economic mess’ on Thursday. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has decided to join the October 7 national strike launched by Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu).

The NUM issued a call to its members in the mining, energy, construction and metals sectors to join the planned strike activities across the country – in accordance with Covid-19 guidelines – or withdraw their labour by staying at home on the day, as part of the Global Day for Decent Work.

The legally protected strike is focused on pushing both government and the private sector to act in fixing the “economic mess” that South Africa finds itself in and take more seriously the issues that are affecting workers and society in general.

“The NUM is issuing a call to all its members in mining, energy construction and metal to join the strike. They can either join the planned activities across the country or withdraw their labour by staying at home on the day,” said William Mabapa, NUM Acting General Secretary.

“The strike on Thursday is legally protected and is focused on pushing both government and the private sector to act to fix the economic mess that the country finds itself in, and take seriously the issues that are affecting workers and South Africans in general. We remind workers that this strike is taking place under COVID-19 restrictions, and we urge all our members and the broader society to continue to take precautions.”

Explaining the rationale behind the national strike on Thursday, Cosatu’s First Deputy President Michael Shingange said that the conditions that workers have to operate under are such that the union must take to the streets and voice their displeasure.

He added that the federation was also protesting against the private and public sectors.

He said, “both these two employers are conspiring to attack the workers at the time of economic hardships so it’s our view that we must go as we’ve always done to the street, to the captains of industry and also to the department of labour and the government at large to make policies in such a manner that they resolve the issues workers are faced with”.

Shingange said that the Covid-19 pandemic is being used by companies to the collective bargaining agreement of 2018.

He said companies began attacking the collective bargaining agreement before the pandemic started.

A statement released by the union said that the strike is focused on pushing both government and the private sector to act to fix the economic mess that the country finds itself in, and take seriously the issues that are affecting workers and South Africans in general.

Cosatu is also calling for a reversal of budget cuts that have led to the wage freeze which the union calls unacceptable.

Cosatu represents more than 1.8 million workers in South African. Shingange says that more than 30 marchers will take place across South Africa and no less than 2000 people will attend these marchers.

“We think that’s going to have an impact because, coupled with the ongoing strike in other industries and other unions, we think that the employers and the policymakers are supposed to come to the terms with the fact that workers and the working-class in general are actually very disappointed in the manner in which they are handling their issues particularly when they are holding profits themselves but depriving the working-class of the benefits that they deserve”.

Cosatu has also declared their support of the current strike action being taken by the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA).

NUMSA is demanding an 8% increase across the board for the first year and CPI +2% for the second and third years.

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