South African Unions Announce Strike Action to Protest Rising Cost of Living

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) have disclosed that a nationwide industrial action is set to commence next week Wednesday, August 24th 2022.

Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla explained that the strike, which is aimed at protesting against the rising cost of living in the country, has all legal backings. He added that participating unions have obtained necessary permission to proceed with the action.

Cosatu spokesperson, Sizwe Pamla

Pamla said the strike action will cut across all nine provinces, with all workers expected to join in. He further urged South Africans to support the cause by participating as well.

According to the unions, the inaction on the part of government towards the high cost of living and other population demands, calls for concern and should be addressed.

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“We have solutions, but at a government level, there’s a lack of will or a lack of capacity; that’s where the problem lies,” he said.

The Cosatu spokesperson added that the government’s lack of willingness and capacity to address the issues bothering South Africans – including implementation of relevant proposals – have been on for too long. Hence, the need to spur them to action with the strike.

The unions are protesting issues of fuel price cap, Road Accident Fund (RAF) versus Road Accident Benefit Scheme (RABS), load shedding, price gouging by retailers, investment strike, and issues of xenophobia.

Responding to a question on Cosatu’s alliance with the governing ANC, Pamla said the union, though in agreement with ANC on many policies and frameworks, execution was entirely at the discretion of the governing party.

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“We are all aware of the ANC’s failures in government. As alliance parties, we need to be realistic when it comes to some issues. The ANC is really failing if you look at where we are with issues of unemployment and being the most unequal country in the world. Also when it comes to solving all the problems on the economic front.

“But on the policy front, the ANC has done some commendable things.

“So we’re working with the ANC on a lot of policies that benefit workers – but we are not mincing our words on the spectacular failures and mismanagement of the economy. This is the price you pay for being in an alliance,” he said.

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