Wednesday, August 25, 2010

South Africa Economic Shutdown - Cosatus

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has given the government an ultimatum to agree to public sector unions' wage demands or face a total shutdown next week. This is Just the Begining.
"We call on all workers to intensify their action. Every Cosatu-affiliated union must tomorrow submit notice to their employers to embark on a secondary strike," Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said.

"So by next Thursday if the current strike is not resolved, the entire economy of South Africa will be shut down," he said.

Mr Vavi also noted the government's comments on the 8,5% wage offer. "No 8,5% wage offer was tabled. Government has been negotiating with the media rather than unions. This is pure misinformation aimed at confusing the public."

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) said it is deeply disturbed by the "outright lies" the government has told South Africans. It said an 8,5% wage increase has not been presented to the unions.

It said those lies showed the contempt the government has for its citizens and is indicative of SA's leadership crisis .

"We have noticed that despite government pleading poverty, it has enough money to buy full-page adverts to peddle its lies and also has money to transfer patients to the private hospitals," Nehawu spokesman Sizwe Pamla said.

The unions are demanding an 8,6% increase and a R1000 monthly housing allowance, while the government is offering a 7% increase and a R700 housing allowance.

A spokesman for the government, Themba Maseko, said this week that, in addition to the 7% wage increase, there is a 1,5% pay progression that workers will get automatically if they accept the offer, thus increasing the offer to 8,5%.

He said the difference between strikers' demands and the government's offer is just a tenth of a percentage point.

However, Mr Pamla said this performance-based system is part of the existing conditions of service.

It is not part of this year's negotiations and has not been part of any recent negotiation.

He said Nehawu will start mobilising other Cosatu-affiliated unions tomorrow to embark on a sympathy strike. "Since the strike last week, we have seen doctors and nurses protesting. Our aim tomorrow is to target other government departments to intensify the strike," Mr Pamla said.

The South African National Military Veterans Association said yesterday that it will deploy its members to hospitals affected by the strike. "Much as we sympathise with the workers on their right to better working conditions and living wages, we can never condone the use of violence and the unjust actions that lead to fatalities due to the strike," the association's president, Kebby Maphatsoe, said.

Dumisane Nkwamba, spokesman for the Department of Public Service and Administration, said the government is engaging union leaders so that they can agree on an amicable solution.

Remember, What Affects South Africa Might in turn Affect The Entire African Race.

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