Public sector workers set to strike next week

November 18, 2022 0 By Cypher9ja



With more than 800 000 public sector workers set to down tools next Tuesday, the country’s three main trade union federations have threatened to stage an indefinite strike if members’ grievances aren’t met.

Grievances include salary increases and working conditions.

Unions

The Congress of South African Trade Unions, South African Federation of Trade Unions and Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) yesterday gave an update to their members, following government’s unilateral implementation of a three percent wage hike.

Fedusa representative Waheed Hoosen said government’s silence was a sign that, as an employer, it did not take unions or federations seriously, but also a blatant response to unions to do what they can and want.

“So we will do what we can and what we want in order to get them to recognise us,” he added.

“Because it’s not about our fight, it’s about a fight of more than a million people who rely on government for salaries.

“So level up, and that is what 22 November’s action is all about. It’s about levelling up.

“We all know the consequences a strike has on a country and on the workplace industry, so if an employer does take the union seriously, which is a huge role player in the economy, we would have had a response already.”

Open to talks

According to the unions, to date government has made no effort to continue negotiations for the 2022-23 financial year. They remained open to talks with government, only if the employer returned with an improved offer.

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union’s December Mavuso agreed with Hoosen and said: “This is the beginning, it is going to go on until the day we declare an indefinite strike.

“Indefinite strike… I’m sure you understand that is complete or total withdrawal of labour, so we’re not going to go in and out.

Indefinite strike

“It will be an indefinite strike until our demands are met. Whether it happens now or early in the year is a function of this process we’re embarking on.

“But it’s not just going to end there and we’re not going to demobilise after the 22nd. After that, our demonstrations and pickets will be proceeding because we’ll be waiting for government to respond, but we’ll also announce on the 22nd concretely what will be next.” Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa president Simon Hlungwani said members were ready to strike and unions would mobilise across all nine provinces.

“Our stand is also to demonstrate the seriousness with which we take the government’s concerted effort to underplay the role and significance of collective bargaining and the agreements that bind parties,” Hlungwani said.

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