We will listen and we will act, ministers promise as Cosatu strikes

07 October 2020 - 17:35
Ministers Fikile Mbalula and Thulas Nxesi received demands from unions on Wednesday and made commitments to respond before the 14-day deadline they were given.
Ministers Fikile Mbalula and Thulas Nxesi received demands from unions on Wednesday and made commitments to respond before the 14-day deadline they were given.
Image: Shonisani Tshikalange

Labour & employment minister Thulas Nxesi and his transport counterpart Fikile Mbalula have promised to address concerns that trade federation Cosatu raised during widespread protests on Wednesday.

Reading a memorandum outside the National Treasury headquarters in the Pretoria CBD on Wednesday, Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi said the government and the private sector had demonstrated that they did not care about workers.

“We are saying, 'Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose,'” she said.

“It is important that today becomes the unity of workers in the country. We are pursuing the struggles of workers in the working class. It is for the first time in the country that all workers are united under the same banner of workers in struggle.”

Among other things, Cosatu has demanded the provision of PPE to all front-line Covid-19 workers, the speedy and efficient prosecution of all corrupt officials, and the elimination of the gender pay gap in all workplaces.

“We are giving you 14 days to respond. We want change. Implement what we have agreed to,” she said.

Nxesi said the government would distribute the memorandum to relevant departments and respond within the given time.

“We are going to look at the issues and respond appropriately. Even where we don't agree, we will sit down and debate,” he said.

Mbalula said he had heard the workers, and would respond to their demands.

“We are here because things which were supposed to have been fixed have not yet been fixed. We will get back to you, without wasting time,” he said.

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