Some companies use COVID-19 as an excuse to retrench workers: Cosatu

Cosatu2 Reuters - Some companies use COVID-19 as an excuse to retrench workers: Cosatu

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in KwaZulu-Natal says it will be out in full force to participate in Wednesday’s nationwide strike over issues including unemployment and wages.

Cosatu says some companies have used the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to retrench workers.

Protests are expected in areas including Manguzi, Newcastle and Ladysmith.

The labour federation has warned those not participating in the strike to stay at home.

The Union’s Provincial Secretary Edwin Mkhize says,  “We have a serious problem with a rising level of unemployment in our country and the retrenchments, and that many companies now are being opportunistic, they are using the COVID-19 pandemic to retrench workers when we know very well that that they have long had the agenda of retrenching workers. We are also picking up the issue of corruption, the corruption is rampant in our country, we know that corruption and neoliberalism is inherent but we are saying that we cannot leave this unattended we cannot leave the issue of corruption unchallenged as Cosatu.”

Marches in Limpopo

Cosatu in Limpopo says it will conduct marches in all five districts of the province on Wednesday as part of its nationwide strike over matters including unemployment and wages.

The main march in the province will be held in Polokwane. Cosatu says the downing of tools is informed by wage disputes in government, corruption and Gender-based violence (GBV).

Provincial Secretary Gerald Thwala says they plan to hand over a memorandum of grievances to the Office of the Premier Stan Mathabatha.

Thwala says, “In Limpopo, the federation Cosatu has organised five marches in five districts with the main march being in Polokwane. We are going to start at the SABC Park. We then march to the office of the premier, we’ll hand over a memorandum to the premier, to the department of labour to the NPA or the South African Police Service, and as far as the mobilisation of workers in the province we think the message has been received.”

‘Stay away’

Cosatu in the Eastern Cape is calling on all its members to heed the call of a national stay away on Wednesday.

The labour federation has urged workers to down tools partly due to the ongoing wage dispute between government and its employees.

Provincial secretary, Mkhawuleli Maleki says they will have marches in Port Elizabeth, King William’s Town, Komani and Mthatha.

Maleki says, “This is but an important call for our members to participate in the march because it affects them directly and their families indirectly because this relates to decent work and when you look at decent work these issues that Cosatu is raising are really offensive to descent work. They are in attack of the descent work.”

Corruption

Cosatu in the Western Cape says it will join Wednesday’s nationwide strike against corruption and gender-based violence.

The union will embark on a motorcade from Langa to the Civic Centre to deliver a memorandum of grievances to the City of Cape Town.

Provincial secretary, Malvern de Bruyn says they will also hand over memorandums of grievances at the provincial legislature and national Parliament.

Bruyn says, “Cosatu in the Western Cape is calling on its members and workers to join us in our national strike against corruption, retrenchments, gender-based violence and the attack on collective bargaining. We are also marching against the public transport system that is not working for the workers and the health and safety in our country.”

In the video below, Cosatu says it is all systems go for the national strike:

Additional reporting by Katlego Nyoni and Mlamli Maneli.

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