Workers ‘not cannon fodder for votes’

2010-08-13 00:00

PUBLIC service unions under the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) have threatened to embark on an indefinite strike next week unless the government improves its wage offer from seven percent to 8,6% during negotiations today.

This was the message given during a march organised by the eight unions affiliated to Cosatu, which was attended by at least 50 000 workers in Durban yesterday.

Last night government and trade union representatives were negotiating to try to avert the crippling strike aimed at bringing government services to their knees.

Cosatu unions Sadtu, Sasawu, Pawusa, Sadtu, Sadnu, Nehawu, Sama and Popcru have about 56% of the government workforce, which means about a million workers may go on strike.

The march started slowly from the General Louis Botha statue in Berea Road and proceeded without incident along West Street to the city hall where an impromptu rally was held on the steps.

Cosatu KZN secretary Zet Luzipo said the pending strike was not directed at the ANC or President Jacob Zuma’s government ,“but we have a right to struggle for our rights even under the democratic government. Workers are angry that they are not getting better life for all that was promised to them.”

Sadtu president Thobile Ntola told the crowd that workers “have run out of patience in their quest for quality education and health”.

“The government must know that workers are not cannon fodder for votes,” Ntola said.

Their memorandum was accepted on behalf of the government by Cyril Xaba, special advisor to the KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Zweli Mkhize.

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