National strike before year-end

2011-07-01 06:20

Midrand - Secretary-General of the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu), Zwelinzima Vavi, ended the four-day Cosatu central committee meeting on Thursday on as sombre note, saying there will be a national strike before the end of the year.

But Vavi emphasized that strike action was still the last resort for the unions.

He said the strike would be necessary for employers to genuinely and honestly confront the crisis of ?super-exploitation' of poor workers through labour broking.

During the central committee meeting Cosatu called for its alliance partner, the African National Congress, to make sure that the legislation to ban labour broking was passed by parliament before the year-end.

Vavi said the government had to stop the arrival of "the super shark called Walmart" in SA and for the competition authorities to add more conditions to the deal, in which Walmart acquires SA mass discounter Massmart.

"We want investment, of course we do, but not at our expense," he said.

Vavi also said the arrival of Walmart would destroy the industrial and manufacturing base of South Africa.

The final demand was that government did something to alleviate the water crisis.

"We don't want to run out of drinking water by 2017, the workers will die. Surely everyone agrees with us on that," Vavi said.

Cosatu had earlier adopted its draft resolution and used the opportunity to fire a warning shot at its alliance partner the ruling African National Congress, saying it must implement the policies of the 2008 Polokwane Conference and the 2009 general election.

The declaration also said the government had to "pull up their socks".

Other resolutions adopted by the country's largest labour federation were the immediate banning of labour brokers, recognition that SA had become the most unequal country on earth, rising unemployment caused by the global financial crisis and the extent of corruption. 

  • navarac - 2011-07-01 07:31

    Parents know that when their child does not require instant gratification he/she is on their way to maturity. This same principle may be applied to groups of people. I hope that our child starts to mature soon and realises that instant gratification usually results in unpleasant consequences.

      schmerz - 2011-07-01 15:09

      Your answer is 42?

  • michael.e.bowery - 2011-07-01 07:49

    The one thing that Vavi doesn't seem to understand is that Cosatu cannot force people or organisations to become employers. It has become increasingly obvious that many of the public/organisations don't want to employ workers on any but a casual basis. This the reason for the growth of the so called labour brokers. Industrial legislation and its regulations coupled with the inability of the employer, to be able to fire at will someone not pulling their weight, or found to be dishonest without a protracted industrial legislation process. People/organisations simply don't want the hassle which employers face with permanent monthly/weekly paid workers. Add to this the requirement of an 8% increase each year for domestic workers which government does not reciprocate with its own pensions and adds to individual irritation. The net result Mr Vavi, is that many people/organisations employ only numbers that are seen to be absolutely necessary. Organisations who would employ, simply spend money on mechanisation and cut back the workforce. I would suggest leaving the labour brokers alone, they at least are finding work and money for the poor, who otherwise would be standing at robots with a coca cola tin outstretched for charity as opposed to having at least some income. Where the worst elements of industrial legislation as they exist now were abolished there would be an instant response - employment opportunities. `You want a job, I can only pay so much Take it or leave it.'

      Cire - 2011-07-04 11:14

      Well said! Cosatu is creating a labour aristocracy at the expense of the unemployed. Allow unionism in your business, unless you are a gaint corporation, and you will yourself become unemployed!

  • Eros82 - 2011-07-01 07:53

    Is a job via a labour broker worse than no job at all?? The government promises to create jobs, but their actions do the opposite.

  • Wow! - 2011-07-01 08:17

    SA is spiralling downwards so fast that it is unbelievable. When willthe unions equate productivy with salaries. Blithering idiots abound in the ANC alliance.

  • DaveS - 2011-07-01 08:29

    COSATU and the labour laws of this country are partly the reason for the high level of unemployment. In reality is too diffucult and costly to dismiss a non-performing worker so all that happens is that private business only hires the minimum staff it can get by on and through this also does not try to expand too rapidly. This stifles employment. Often too the minimum wages cannot be afforded so less are employed. There are many cases where people are prepared to work for less than minimum wages laid down in law to at least get an income and food but business is not allowed to employ them so they do not get any income. COSATU would rather see them starve than earn some money at least. The leaders do not give a toss because they are earning the big bucks and living a comfortable 'capitalist' lifestyle where the Johnny Walker Black flows and is paid for by the members subscriptions. And this does happen!

  • Alta - 2011-07-01 09:01

    Yea go on strike, That is sure to help the economy and create more jobs!!!!!!!!!!!!! hehehahaaa 2 faced snake this one, Pull up your socks one day and nthe next we support natiolisation, Do you want this country down the drain as that is the road you are leading us all down with your contradictory stance.

  • Liberty - 2011-07-01 09:21

    Mr Vavi you want more jobs for your people, but strikes never help create employment it leads to lay offs. Wallmart going to create 15 000 jobs in SA. You complain about low salaries, but many of the workers are uneducated. You have a choice, either low wages and you employ many workers or high wages and you employ few workers. You can't have it both ways

      Eros82 - 2011-07-01 14:43

      100% correct

  • Dougalan - 2011-07-01 09:31

    Cosatu have now become the exploiters, earning probably R50 million or more every month from workers' dues, yet in the meantime destroying hundreds of businesses with unreasonable wage demands. Economics determines prices of goods: if labour costs are too high in comparison with competition, goods do not sell, there are no profits and no wages for workers who then lose their jobs. Overseas, this simple truth has sunk home and unions are far less powerful there than a few decades ago. When will South African workers wake up to the nasty truth about our local trade unions, or are we SO far behind the rest of the world?

  • The Captain - 2011-07-01 09:46

    Unbelievable - this the week after 4500 lost their jobs in the clothing industry because of minimum wage transgressions. Labor brokers need to be regulated not banned. Most captains of industry would rather invest in more machinery that employ more workers who strike at the drop of a hat. In my industry labor brokers are used to hire unskilled and uneducated staff without a risk to the business. Nine times out of ten once they are up to speed and display this this little something called work ethic - we hire them full time. So in my context labor brokers contribute to full time employment. Seems as if the unions are hell bent on destroying the country.

  • scud - 2011-07-01 10:09

    typical childish fools

  • Mabake - 2011-07-01 10:53

    I unanimously agree with COSATU that predatory and parasiic comprador greediness of capital in labour brokerage industry must be radically abolished so that workers will enjoy decent work with living wage. If government does not want ti heed this call to repeal labour brokers legislatively, then workers will use their least power they have to embark on rolling mass action that will have crippling effects to the entire economy. Let bourgoisie get prepared for a massive fight that workers will wage for living wage and decent work. Workers must unite against capitalists exploitative tendancies. This is South Africa all middle class more especially white brothers & sister must begin to accept that Cosatu is here to stay. This workers federation is threatening the comfort zones of the middle class as the call for a living wage has a potential to compromise their salary hikes. This is SA not Europe. These defenders of capital are surbubia's who do not think of the poverty faced by workers after more than 17 years of democracy.This is the time for workers to benefit, they must stop abusing economics to defend their narrow selfish economic interests. By:Collen

      DJI - 2011-07-01 11:37

      We are now letting 60 workers go because of union disputes. The workers were happy until about 18 of the 160 decided they will show us how things work. Sad really, 60 households now without, or just 1 salary.

      G.du Plessis - 2011-07-01 11:41

      Hear hear. I agree. Germany distributes the wealth from top down as we should.

      Eros82 - 2011-07-01 12:15

      A higher minimum wage will just destroy more jobs...go ahead, dig your grave. The workers can do whatever they like...even stand on their heads and whistle Nkosi Sikelele out their backsides....if employee costs are too high for the company to sustain their jobs will be CUT!!

      G.du Plessis - 2011-07-01 14:08

      Higher minimum wage increases the spending power of the poor thus creating employment elsewhere, as other industries have working class consumers in addition to the consumers they have now.

      Mike Stassen - 2011-07-13 14:57

      So glad another 150 ppl lost their jobs in the metal industry today due to unrealistic high increases from Unions and the loss of a huge export order to the UK. How on earth can you pay a person with no experience and no qualifications a min wage of R 6000.00 ctc. Do we realise that the Chinese is flooding the markets and our export oppertunities are decreasing by the day by the hour.I hope Cosatu and the other comrades will support everyone who is without a job today. Welldone to the Vavi's of the world hopefully this will result in an increase in tax percentages as the contributing tax payers in the country are on the decrease contniously and government spending on the increase. Workers on strike must work 1 125 hours to recover their losses over the past 2 weeks. Hell this is sensible.

  • motsokwane - 2011-07-01 11:29

    "We don't want to run out of drinking water by 2017, the workers will die. Surely everyone agrees with us on that," Vavi said. UPDATE YOUR CV, JOB OPPORTUNITIES COMING.

  • debbie.van.niekerk - 2011-07-01 11:38

    WTF...its all I have to say....I still want the Republic of the Western Cape...please someone cos this crap makes me crazy

      MR67 - 2011-07-02 09:02

      Good idea..... P.S. Nice Facebook pic, by the way. When you've got it, flaunt it! ;-)

  • Thandi - 2011-07-01 12:07

    So it is time for the children to start playing again with their toy-toying and moronic behaviour. And why are the unions and workers so scared of Massmart? Is it because they may have to actually work for a change?

  • bg - 2011-07-01 12:09

    It seems that those who are anti-labour broking have forgotten that the employees working for labour brokers are there because they approached the labour broker to find them temporary work, invariably because they could not get permanent jobs in the first place. Also, someone working for a labour broker can easily and quite quickly resign from that situation if he/she is not happy with the process - it is in their hands. Actaully the labour broker is providing a solution to the problem of unemployment, albeit a temporary solution.

      kaz - 2011-07-01 14:50

      Fully agreed, can't understand how these peoples' minds function. Do they think that employers who use labour brokers for temps and contract workers are just going to permanently employ the same number of people...I don't think so. Along with full wages, a permanent employee has to have company benefits etc. Boggles my mind!

  • mike - 2011-07-01 12:17

    @mabake - congratulations - that is one of the most stupid unthought out blogs I have ever come across , it is so sad that you dont even realise that you contradict yourself. how is 'workers will use their least power they have to embark on rolling mass action that will have crippling effects to the entire economy" going to "help the workers"?

  • ZACKIE - 2011-07-01 14:44

    vavi is an idiot the more strikes = more job losses but his fat paycheck is covered by the(association of national corruption)so he's not bothered

  • Sammy - 2011-07-01 15:40

    Good news for unemployed people and the economy

  • StBad - 2011-07-01 17:10

    We haven't had one in a while, sounds about right!

  • Cire - 2011-07-04 11:11

    Vavi's next step in 'building socialism'?

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