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SAFTU CONVENES THE WORKING CLASS SUMMIT TO PREPARE FOR A FIGHT BACK

In carrying out the National Executive Committee (NEC) resolution of the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU), the Extended Steering Committee of the Working Class Summit has resolved to convene the Working Class Summit (WCS) on the 5th of August 2022 to assemble a fighting plan against the rising costs of living, austerity, privatisation, job losses/unemployment, crime including GBV and killing of the police officials and climate change calamity.

Our intent to organise and mobilise protracted struggles is not borne of unfailing fondness for strikes and protests, but because history has not presented the working class with better tools to fight for the betterment of society. If anything, the historical lessons of the post-apartheid period have demonstrated that other methods such as negotiating in corporatist structures in NEDLAC, and Bargaining Councils are not adequate to bring us to a society that affords ordinary citizens a better life.

28 years of negotiating for a better life for all, conditions have worsened for the working class majority: unemployment has risen to 45,6% (75,1% amongst the youth between the ages of 15 and 24 and 53,7% among Black African women); the cost of food basket has increased by 46,5% since December 2019; electricity has increased by 506,53% since 2007; a price of a litre of 93 unleaded petrol has increased by 72% since March 2020 to R26,31 in July 2022; the austerity cuts have reduced the number of public servants at the time when population is growing; and increases in interest rates have made debts expensive and causes mass consumer defaults by households that hold financial liabilities with financial institutions.

This reflects the deepening crisis of capitalism of unemployment and poverty, the burden of which is carried by the ordinary working people, and the working class has no other way to reverse the situation except to force concessions out of government and the capitalist class on whose behalf it is serving through struggles.

The post-1994 euphoria has gradually evaporated, and the working class must reckon that the pre-1994 tools i.e., mass struggles, are the most effective tools we must use to fight for a better life for all. #FeesMustFall and #OutsourcingMustFall have demonstrated that the ruling class will not volunteer any concession, we must organise and fight.

Despite the rhetoric of a “better life for all”, not only has the ANC failed to deliver, but is committed to neoliberal path that has reproduced poverty, unemployment inequalities and corruption.

In the absence of the reorganisation of the progressive working-class movement, impoverished workers, the unemployed and students are giving in to the ideologies of the right wing demagogues and right wing reaction. Today, the xenophobic sentiments are at a heightened level as a result. This is made possible by the vacuum created by the absence of a unified working-class movement armed with the correct ideology to steer the anger of the working class towards right enemies.

All working-class formations must join the Working Class Summit (WCS) to become part of the organisations that organise towards unity of the working class, and together struggle to fight right-wing reaction, austerity, attacks on wages and for the introduction of the Basic Income Grant (BIG).

We invite all the organisations wishes to participate in the summit to contact the Working Class Summit Coordinator Ferron Pedro at ferronp@saftu.org.za