South Africa’s COSATU, NEHAWU Plan Strike Action

Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is set to go on strike on October 7 to protest against corruption, and it wants President Cyril Ramaphosa to speed up prosecutions of corrupt individuals, COSATU’s general secretary said on Wednesday.

“He (Ramaphosa) must stop negotiating with criminals and use the only language that they will understand which is prosecution and sentencing,” Bheki Ntshalintshali told a news conference.

Also, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) will begin a strike action this week despite meeting with government officials over the weekend to discuss key issues.

The union plans to strike against the government’s refusal to increase public servants’ salaries and a failure to offer adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) against the coronavirus.

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NEHAWU membership base exceeds 240,000 people, making it the largest public-sector union in the country.

In a notice sent to members, NEHAWU said that its activities will begin with the “Tsaya le tsatsi la leave” action. This will see workers flock to their employer’s offices on Monday (24 August) to apply for a leave day for Tuesday (25 August).

“The ‘Tsaya le tsatsi la leave’ will be followed by lunch hour pickets which will take place in all workplaces from the 24th until the 27th August 2020 and on the 28th August 2020 will be “Siyahlala Day of Action” whereby all workers across all sectors we organise shall be observing lockdown as they are no longer feeling safe at their workplaces by staying at home and not going to work.

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“This will be followed by a work to rule campaign by all members across all sectors on the 31st August 2020,” it said.

The union has committed to a ‘day of mass action’ on 3 September, where memorandums will be handed over to senior government officials.

COSATU spokesperson Sizwe Pamla has previously said that union has the federation’s blessings and support for its planned mass action next month. “We want public servants to go on a full-blown strike,” he said.

Pamla stated that the government is not acting as though there is a crisis in the country with public servants contracting and succumbing to the deadly coronavirus.

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He warned that if the government does not meet NEHAWU demands by September 10, the union will completely withdraw its labour.

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