More ways in store to halt tolls: Vavi

2012-03-06 14:32

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has more “creative ways” to make the e-tolling system an epic failure.

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi told reporters in Pretoria today that if the government went ahead with e-tolling on Gauteng highways after tomorrow’s strike, the union federation would organise more strikes.

The nationwide strike is in protest against e-tolling and labour broking.

“Particularly on April 28, we are more likely to think about lots of creative ways which we have talked about which will make that whole (e-tolling) system unworkable ... completely unworkable.”

He said the government would have to choose between the economy losing billions in the e-tolling battle or choose to negotiate with the organisation instead.

“Government has R300 billion, it can’t tell us that it can’t get just R20 billion from that R300 billion to pay for public roads,” he said.

Vavi said tomorrow’s strike action was a sign that Cosatu was still willing to negotiate with government regarding the two issues.

“We are going to be listening very carefully in terms of what government is going to be saying. We are forcing government back to the negotiating table – we are saying we remain open to talks, even at this moment,” he said.

He said strike action was being used sparingly as it was a huge sacrifice for workers to lose a days’ wages.

Vavi said teachers were also expected to participate in the strike. “Teachers are workers too and they have the same rights as all other workers.”

He said plans would have to be put in place to make up for the learning hours which would be lost tomorrow.

Everybody and all organisations were welcome to participate in the strike except for those working in essential services.

Cosatu said it would not allow participating political parties to push their own agendas at the strike, saying the attendance of ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema was placing Cosatu in a “tight corner”.

Malema was in solidarity with the action and would march with protesters tomorrow, said Vavi.
A total of 34 marches will be taking place across the nation.

In Johannesburg, protesters were expected to gather at the Library Gardens and proceed to the department of labour and then the department of transport.

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