Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Bloemfontein: The South African Federation of Trade Unions embarked on a general strike on Wednesday (25 April 2018) in protest against the proposed national minimum wage of R20 an hour and changes to labour laws. Saftu believes the minimum wage will entrench poverty.

SAFTU, its affiliates, allies in civil society, workers who are not members of any union, the unemployed, students and members of the public marched in several city centres of South Africa in protest against the biggest attacks on working-class people, the trade unions and the poor majority of South Africans since the end of apartheid.

The organised march in Bloemfontein started with marchers converging at Batho Hall and proceeded to the Free State Department of Labour offices in Bloemfontein CBD, where the memorandum was handed over.

SAFTU members arriving at the Department of Labour offices to hand over the memorandum of demands.

The memorandum demanded the following matters to be addressed:

  • An end to the job losses deepened by the current wave of deindustrialisation;
  • The introduction of a wealth tax and the introduction of a solidarity tax;
  • Scraping of the VAT! Alternatively the reversal of the recent decision to increase VAT, increasing of VAT on luxurious goods in particular on imported goods;
  • The reviewal of the corporate taxes that were around 45% during the apartheid era but driven down to around 28% during the era of democracy;
  • The reviewal of the personal income tax to ensure that those who can pay more make more contributions to the fiscus;
  • Capping and decreasing the salaries of those earning grotesque amounts not through declaration of intent but practically;
  • The full implementation of the Freedom Charter clause 3 and 4 on land and sharing of the economy;
  • An end to corruption in the private sector and public sector;
  • The withdrawal of the plans to privatise water in the Western Cape and the withdrawal of the threat of day zero! We reject the move by to bring companies from the racist and apartheid Israel to build desalination plants in the Western Cape. This will increase the price of water many folds. Government must extract the millions of water flowing into the ocean beneath the city of Cape Town;
  • Free, high quality and decolonised public education at all levels;
  • The scrapping of the e-tolls and the introduction of the public transport system that is safe, assessable and affordable. We demand an end to the commodification of the public infrastructure and the scrapping of all the etolls whose price keeps on increasing;
  • Decent and affordable houses next to our workplaces. The current apartheid spatial development scandalously maintained and worsened during the democratic era must come to an end;
  • A speedy introduction of the National Health Insurance and a comprehensive social security system that will be buttressed by a social wage as a deliberate strategy to relieve the poor and the working class from the burden of paying for such services as public transport, education and healthcare.

“The National Minimum Wage Bill and the Labour Amendments Bills are taking us to the opposite direction of a better life for all or radical economic transformation. They will not only maintain the current status quo but worsen it including actually permanently postpone the dreams of the many.” concluded the memorandum.

Other marches were organised throughout the country incluing, Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Western Cape.

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