The South African Federation of Trade Unions sturdily condemns and rejects the new amendments to the Labour Relations Act setting out that there should be transitional provisions in Section 59 requiring that trade unions and employers’ organisation provide for a secret strike ballot before embarking on a strike. The right to strike is the only weapon workers have at their disposal to fight against their bosses (employers) for better conditions and wages.
We have said this in our previous statements, that such a decision emanates from a class collaboration that took place behind closed doors at NEDLAC between government and sweetheart unions who signed on to this sell-out deal with no mandate from their members. We continue cautioning COSATU, NACTU and FEDUSA members that their leaders signed all these draconian laws for their own selfish agenda as we have witnessed with the new appointment of former COSATU president, Sdumo Dlamini, as the new deputy minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development. We see that as a token of appreciation from President Ramaphosa to Sdumo Dlamini since COSATU leaders signed all the ‘slavery bills’.
The secret strike ballot is a Stalingrad tactic meant to fatigue workers and unions from exercising their constitutional guaranteed right to strike meant to diminish the already shrinking power of the working class. This is yet another example of how neoliberal policies continue to advance the ruling class at the continuous expense of the working class. This is a clear testimony of how the ANC together with its business chums continue to betray the masses of this country.
The secret strike ballot law opens new channels for the owners of capital (bosses) to have veto powers over strikes called by trade unions. It is unfathomable that such was permitted after workers fought vehemently for the right to strike post-Apartheid. SAFTU sees the new amendments as curtailing the gains which were hard fought by workers during Colonialism and Apartheid. SAFTU also sees the secret strike ballot as a containment measure targeted at trade unions and its members to weaken the labour movement in the country.
The massive strike that took place on April 25th, 2018 marked a crushing defeat of illusions and cruel hopes of the ruling capitalist class that they can exploit the generosity of the working class towards the new ANC leadership that they can continue to impose without resistance from workers brutal austerity, poverty minimum wages and legislative attacks on democratic constitutional rights of workers.
SAFTU will continue:
· Mobilising workers for a massive general strike in defence of our constitutional right to strike.
· The recent NEC meeting resolved that SAFTU must urgently convene National and Provincial Shop-stewards councils together with Campaigns Committee where all issues affecting workers are to be discussed and map a way forward.
· We will approach the International Labour Organisation (ILO) since this new law deviates from the principles set out by the ILO on right to strike.
· SAFTU will be approaching all the courts up to the constitutional court for an urgent interdict as this is a violation of workers’ rights as enshrined in the bill of rights. NUMSA has already begun this process.