BWI affiliates join COSATU’s national strike 

(Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

Coinciding with the World Day for Decent Work on 7 October, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) launched a national strike to oppose corruption, retrenchment, gender-based violence, unemployment and increasing attacks on workers’ collective bargaining in South Africa. 

BWI-affiliated NUM and CEPPWAWU joined the protests in Johannesburg where hundreds of COSATU-affiliated union members marched from COSATU House in the Johannesburg City Centre to the Mineral Council SA head office to deliver a memorandum. 

The South African Federation of Trade Unions, the National Council of Trade Unions and Federation of Unions of South Africa also joined the national strike which was felt in nine provinces. 

NUM Youth Committee Chairperson Vincent Lebohang said that they supported COSATU’s strike action as many of the issues it raised are close to the heart of young workers. The youth are at the frontline of this national strike because we are the ones most affected by the worsening labour situation in the country,” he said. 

COSATU’s memorandum raised the following calls and demands: 

  • “Occupational health and safety: When workers sell their labour they do not sell their lives. However, often the risk of non-compliance with the health and safety measures is on employees.

  • “Corruption: This is a struggle against greed, parasitism and institutionalised profiteering at the expense of poor people and workers.

  • “On fighting retrenchments and ending the unemployment crisis: We call on the state and mining industries to take seriously the crisis we face, particularly unemployment and hunger.

  • “On fighting the scourge of gender-based violence and the gender pay gap: We reaffirm our determination to campaign tirelessly for government to ratify ILO convention 190, which clearly states both the crime of sexual harassment and the required steps and action to deal with it appropriately.

  • “On fighting to end the sustained attacks on collective bargaining agreements and workers’ rights in general: Never in our history, since apartheid, have we seen the levels of attacks on bargaining and workers’ rights in the manner we are being exposed to daily.”