Saftu to protest against labour laws it says will turn workers into ‘slaves’

24 May 2018 - 18:37 By Timeslive
Thousands of Saftu members turned out to support one of the labour federation's first major strikes on April 25. They were protesting the proposed R20-an-hour minimum wage.
Thousands of Saftu members turned out to support one of the labour federation's first major strikes on April 25. They were protesting the proposed R20-an-hour minimum wage.
Image: Greg Roxburgh

Like an army marching into battle‚ the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) plans to descend on the Parliament precinct as it continues to wage war against labour laws that‚ it says‚ will turn workers into “slaves”.

The umbrella body is planning a protest march for May 30‚ largely over the National Minimum Wage Bill and various labour law amendments.

“This will be a massive show of strength by workers‚ from all unions and federations‚ members of no union‚ casual workers‚ informal traders‚ the unemployed‚ progressive civil society and all South Africans‚” it said in a statement issued on Thursday.

“We shall be there to demand the scrapping of laws which are not only an attack on the trade unions but on the democratic rights of every South African. They will impose conditions and rules which will make it virtually impossible for trade unions to organise protected strikes‚ even after all attempts to reach a negotiated settlement have reached deadlock.”

The union‚ spearheaded by ex-Cosatu boss Zwelinzima Vavi‚ said the laws would shift the balance of power even further over to employers.

“It effectively bans workers from exercising their constitutional right to strike and will turn them into slaves. The time has come to fight back‚” the union said.

It was also to demand that a minimum wage of R12‚500 a month - “demanded by the Marikana martyrs” - be introduced.

“We are also determined to continue the fight against the poverty national minimal wage of R20‚ R18‚ R15 and R11 an hour. In this‚ the world’s most unequal society‚ it is an outrage that the billionaire bosses of big business‚ and their representatives on the ANC benches in Parliament expect workers to be able to live on a wage that even the president himself concedes is not a living wage‚” the union said.

“This is class warfare It is a life-and-death struggle to defend workers’ rights. It is a battle we cannot afford to lose‚” the statement ended.


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