Cosatu unions threaten total shutdown

2010-08-12 00:00

THE Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) public sector unions have threatened to embark on a total shutdown in all public service centres in KwaZulu-Natal with a provincial march scheduled to begin at Durban’s City Hall at 9.30 am today.

Eight Cosatu unions, who have yet to join the ongoing wages strike, said yesterday they will decide at the march whether they will participate in the week-old protest that is threatening to bring government to its knees.

At a press conference in Pietermaritzburg yesterday, Cosatu threatened that government ministers and other top government officials will be without bodyguards and will be driving themselves if the eight unions decide to join the strike.

Cosatu public sector unions consist of about 56% of the public sector’s workforce.

The eight unions include Sadtu, Popcru, Nehawu and the Democratic Nurses’ Organisation of South African (Denosa).

Siyabonga Mdletshe, Sadtu’s deputy provincial secretary and joint mandating committee (JMC) chairperson, said the majority of their members have voted in favour of the strike.

Cosatu yesterday held a mass rally at Pietermaritzburg’s YMCA where civil servants vowed to bring the province to a standstill “if our legitimate demands are not met as required”.

“We promise that this time around our action will make the 2007 strike seem like a Sunday picnic show,” the unions said in a joint statement.

Denosa provincial secretary Cassim Lekhoati said that for government to avoid a strike involving essential service workers, it must be willing to pay essential salaries.

“We are also disturbed by the level of intimidation we have experienced from the management,” Lekhoati said, adding that workers have been served circulars warning them not to participate in the strike.

Popcru’s Kwenza Nxele said police and prison warders will participate in the march, and that skeleton staffing has been arranged as policing is regarded as an essential service.

Sadtu provincial secretary Mbuyiseni Mathonsi said they will target private schools and former model C schools as ministers’ children are educated there.

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