#WorkersDay: Cosatu urges workers to remain united

Critics say Cosatu has in recent years battled to hold the confidence of workers since the emergence of Saftu in 2017.

People gather for Cosatu's May Day rally in Bloemfontein on 1 May 2017. Picture: Clement Manyathela/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has urged workers to remain united saying this day should not be about confrontation between rival unions.

The federation will on Tuesday host rallies across the country, with president Sdumo Dlamini expected to address the main event in Port Elizabeth under the theme: "Building unity and cohesion of Cosatu to advance the national democratic revolution."

Critics say Cosatu has in recent years battled to hold the confidence of workers since the emergence of South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) in 2017.

Tuesday marks 33 years since the majority of South African workers declared 1 May as a public holiday and stayed away from work.

Cosatu's Sizwe Pamla says they want a sense of unity among the working class.

“We need to start uniting as workers across all sectarian lines. We’re actually struggling as unions in this country when you look at the fact that we’re the only organised 30% of the workforce.”

Saftu is also holding a rally.

Saftu's Secretary General Zwelinzima Vavi says: “This is the international day when workers go back in memory, look at their battles, their defeats, their tribulations, their suffering, but it’s also a day that they come together to rededicate themselves to new struggles.”

At the same time, the proposed national minimum wage is set to dominate speeches at rallies across the country.