Cosatu strikes could lead to ‘a double whammy’

2012-03-05 07:26

The trade union federation Cosatu says there will be a total of 32 marches on Wednesday as part of its national strike action.

Patrick Craven, Cosatu spokesperson, says the two largest strikes will be in Johannesburg and Cape Town. “The other strikes will be just as important, these are simply the two biggest ones.”

Cosatu is striking against the continued use of labour brokers and the pending implementation of tolls on Gauteng highways.

“It’s not too late. We can still call off the strike,” Craven told Beeld newspaper yesterday.

“If the government comes out today and tells us it’s banning labour brokers and scrapping the e-toll system, we’ll call off the strike.”

Tony Ehrenreich, Cosatu’s Western Cape secretary, told the media yesterday that he expects about 30 000 people to march to Parliament on Wednesday.

He said: “Cosatu strikes, that are by Cosatu alone, generally attract around 20 000 people. Along with the other parties, we expect a bigger turn-up on Wednesday.”

Some of the organisations supporting Cosatu include the Black Sash, Treatment Action Campaign and People Against Suffering, Oppression and Poverty.

Ehrenreich also confirmed that Cosatu’s affiliated teachers will also strike. “Kids and students are also welcome to march with us. The matters we’re striking about also impact on the children.”

Economist Mike Schüssler said yesterday that he estimates a massive strike that would cost the economy up to R8.2 billion.

“At present, any strike would cost SA economy R8.2 billion if everything closed down as that is the value we add everyday.

“As we do not close everything like hospitals and petrol station, at least some shops will be open so the cost is likely to be a lot less.

“The problem is that the toll fees they are striking against also adds costs. Those costs also increase the cost of doing business and that hurts wealth creation and jobs too. We are in a double whammy.”

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