The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Coast) and its affiliated unions have embarked on a nationwide socio-economic strike on Thursday, 6 July 2023.
According to the union, the demonstrations are taking place in major urban centres across all nine provinces.
Cosatu said its “Day of Action” protest is meant to draw attention to the pressing issues of high unemployment and the need for increased government support for state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
The labour federation said urgent measures are required to address these challenges.
The Agricultural Food and Allied Democratic Workers Union (AFADWU) also issued a call to all workers in the agricultural sector, urging them to participate in marches across all provinces.
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Workers in Johannesburg gathered along Jorissen Street to join the strike.
Cosatu’s Gauteng chairperson, Amos Monyela, engaged with the media to highlight the workers’ demands in the memorandum.
He said the memorandum was given to Transnet and Prasa executives.
The document, he said, focuses on the privatisation of the rail sector, highlighting concerns over the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union’s intention to dispel the overlooked contributions of organised labour to the democratisation of the country.
“The union strongly opposes the neoliberal policies that have led to the deregulation of the market economy.
“These policies have shifted the focus from a welfare state model to a neoliberal state regulation approach, creating an imbalance between the interests of workers and capital.
“Consequently, workers have been subjected to informal and precarious forms of employment, characterised by low wages and limited protections,” the union stated via its memorandum.
Neoliberal policy prescriptions
The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) also rejected the “neoliberal policy prescriptions and hidden state-capitalist dimensions” within the market economy.
“The National Development Plan (NDP) and the Growth Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) strategy are viewed as undermining the principles outlined in the Freedom Charter and the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP).
“These policies favour market virtues, industrial restructuring, and the undermining of labour legislation and collective bargaining processes,” it said.
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Satawu is calling for the reshaping of the state, social relations, and productive systems to align with the transformative ideals of the Freedom Charter and RDP.
They propose a planned economy to combat poverty, unemployment, and limited access to essential social services.
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