Marches to cost cities

2015-10-07 11:44
Cosatu provincial secretary Edwin Mkhize.

Cosatu provincial secretary Edwin Mkhize. (Ian Carbutt)

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Pietermaritzburg - The nationwide marches organised by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) for today have left business people worried about the impact it could have on production.

Seven marches have been planned for the province, with “enough” buses organised to transport people from those towns where there are no marches planned.

Provincial secretary of Cosatu Edwin Mkhize could not confirm the exact number of buses that have been organised, but insisted there will be “enough for everybody”.

“What I can tell you is that nobody who wants to attend the march will be prevented from doing so because of transport. We are getting requests for more from local offices,” said Mkhize.

Cosatu is expecting all its members to participate as it is a protected strike with the union having obtained permission from the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) to hold it.

With Mkhize expecting around 10 000 people to attend the march to be held in Durban, business chambers have raised concerns over the impact it might have on businesses.

Chief executive officer at the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business Melanie Veness said the economy was struggling as it is. “Of course it is very worrying losing production hours. It is tricky in this kind of economy.

“Businesses get orders and there are time frames set for those orders to be ready,” said Veness.

Next week there is the possibility of another massive stayaway after the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) obtained permission from Nedlac to hold a strike on October 14.

Veness said there was a need for all parties involved to try and find solutions through negotiations.

Manager of policy and advocacy in the Durban Chamber of Commerce Justice Matarutse said the march came at a time when “Durban economy did not need it the most”.

“Many working hours have been lost here in Durban already. The recent taxi strike, the strike in the public transport sector earlier this year and also the xenophobic attacks all resulted in many working hours being lost,” said Matarutse.

“This march will be adding to a series of days that Durban has already lost this year. It is not that we are against the objectives of Cosatu, it is just that we are worried about the impact the strike would have on business,” he said.

Marches have been planed for Manguzi, Kokstad, Newcastle, eDumbe, Pongola and Umzimkhulu, which will coincide with the World Day for Decent Work.

“Beside the workers, we have also invited civil society groups to join the march. Actually the march is open to anyone who wants to be part of it,” said Mkhize.

Besides the e-tolls issue, the labour federation said it would be protesting for a national minimum wage.

“Many unscrupulous employers exploit workers and pay them as they please, because there are there are no minimum wage rates set for all workers,” said Mkhize.

Cosatu has been vocal about the Youth Employment Tax Incentive which was introduced in January 2014.

“As of January 2015 to date R2,09 billion has been spent on this scheme with allegations that 274 000 jobs have been created. We are still waiting for evidence on that,” he said.

Cosatu also said they would be marching against the increase in Value Added Tax, job losses, the electricity crisis and the poor state of the public health sector.

Mkhize said they are expecting Premier Senzo Mchunu to accept their memorandum in Durban City Hall.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, Business Chamber of Commerce and car manufacture Toyota have all been invited

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  march

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