Treat workers better or lose in 2019, Nehawu warns ANC

2017-02-22 21:36
Nehawu members march to Parliament in Cape Town. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Nehawu members march to Parliament in Cape Town. (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Pietermaritzburg – The ANC must stop taking workers for granted, otherwise it will lose the 2019 elections, Nehawu warned on Wednesday.

“We have campaigned for the ANC and it is sad when the people that have been elected out of our efforts trample on the rights of workers,” National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union secretary Zola Saphetha said during a union march to the Treasury's offices in Pietermaritzburg.

The ANC’s loss of support in several major metros in the 2016 local government elections was a warning shot angry workers had fired at the ANC, he said.

“If workers continue to be ill-treated, then come the 2019 elections the same outcome witnessed in last year’s elections could be the reality, because workers have had enough."

The march, part of a nationwide campaign by the union, was meant to highlight public sector workers' problems. Saphetha told the crowd that the union’s leaders were worried that many public sector workers were battling to make ends meet because of low wages.

Nehawu wanted better working conditions, a ban on the use of labour brokers, and allowances for workers who operated under difficult conditions.

Nehawu’s marches in several cities took place as Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was tabling his Budget, but this did not mean that the union associated itself with calls for his removal.

“We are not about an individual, but are simply against a system that places profits ahead of humanity,” Saphetha said.

He decried Treasury’s calls for belt-tightening measures and said they were causing more pain for ordinary workers than for elected public representatives and those running parastatals.

Read more on:    nehawu  |  pravin gordhan  |  pietermaritzburg  |  cape town  |  protests  |  parliament 2017  |  labour action  |  politics 2017

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