Don't trample on workers, Cosatu pleads in march to Parliament

A Cosatu march (GALLO)
A Cosatu march (GALLO)

The Congress of South African Trade Unions marched to Parliament on Tuesday - the day before Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is set to deliver his maiden Budget - to call for job security and an end to retrenchments. 

The trade union federation held marches in eight of SA's nine provinces last week, but scheduled its Western Cape march for Tuesday to be closer to the Budget.

Marchers on Tuesday called for VAT increases to be scrapped, and warned the government to not consider privatising debt-laden power utility Eskom. 

Members also want Eskom workers to be protected from Independent Power Producer agreements that they fear could results in job losses.

A memorandum of demands was received by Deputy Speaker in the National Assembly Lechesa Tsenoli, who said it would be passed on to the relevant committees and government departments.

Cosatu’s march to Parliament comes as the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, or Amcu, called for a secondary strike in the platinum mining sector, should Sibanye-Stillwater proceed with restructuring which it fears will hurt jobs.

The trade union federation, in a separate statement outlining its expectations around the Budget, said Mboweni must not increase the tax burden on working and middle-class families. 

"Workers have been made to foot the bill for state capture for far too long.  The Minister needs to announce that there will be no further anti-worker tax hikes," it said. 

The union called for tax hikes to instead be centered on the rich. "There is space to raise corporate income tax, personal income tax for those earning above R1.5m per annum, inheritance and estate taxes and most critically import duties to protect local industries and jobs."

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