SAFTU condemns the employers who are obsessed with profits in the face of the biggest health and economic catastrophe ever to face human kind.
The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) condemns in particular in the private sector. SAFTU is undaunted with calls from workers that some employers are still forcing workers to report, claiming to be essential services when they are not. In the common cases, the employers are forcing workers to sign and sacrifice their annual leave for the 21 days lockdown declared by the President.
SAFTU reiterate its unequivocal support of the measurers announced by the President to lockdown our country in a desperate attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
It would be naïve on the part of anybody to think that all the employers will abide by the spirt of the regulations as demonstrated by the number of calls we are receiving from workers. It is in the nature of the capitalist system to be selfish, self-centred and greedy.
Generally the private sector employers cut corners and side step worker protections accruing from the various pieces of labour legislation. All most 50% of workers do not get regular annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave, or the agreed to wages and conditions of employment.
Disappointingly even in the face of the crisis of the magnitude, some employers are angling to cut corners!
Below is the few examples provided by some of the SAFTU affiliated unions.
The list is endless since most of our affiliates are at war. As we have seen the Minister of Defence deploying every military personnel to our communities, we want the Minister of Labour to deploy an equivalent of labour inspectors to every factory, farm and workplace like they did with the military.
Public Sector employees
The Minister of finance, Tito Mboweni during his austerity budget speech on the 26 February, announced that government would cut R162 billion over the midterm budget, resulting from the cutting of R3.9 billion from the health budget at the time when our public hospital has chronic staff and infrastructure backlogs. SAFTU is extremely concerned that the chickens may come back home to roost during this crisis.
Already our unions are reporting that there is lack of plan and coordination inside government. Some of the frontline workers still do not have protective clothing. Some don’t know how they will go to and from work from tomorrow as there are no clear plans, etc.
SAFTU is also extremely concerned that the moral of the public sector workers is at its lowest as 01 April 2020 looms. On this day government is intending not to implement a wage agreement negotiated in the PSCBC in 2018. As a result every public servant including the front liners will see their conditions of employment and wages taking a dive of 4.5% which is the rate of inflation.
Notwithstanding all these challenges, SAFTU salutes the unparalleled determination of all the public sector workers whose conditions are under attack from their employers but who have for the sake of their fellow country men and women decided to work for long hours under extremely challenging conditions.
SAFTU is all companies and workers of the interventions announced by the President that are applying during the lockdown?
What help does the Minister of Employment and Labour offer?
On the 25th of March 2020, Mr Thulas Nxesi, the Minister of Employment and Labour, issued a government notice which is intended to help the bosses and workers. The Minister says the following in the government notice;
SAFTU is demanding to Both Government and Private Sector Employers
To all workers in the country for assistance during lockdown, you can contact-
National Organiser of SAFTU Lebohang Phanyeko 076-387-8607
Workers experiencing difficulties can also call the free toll number of the department of labour which is 012 337 1997