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Cosatu to embark on national strike against job cuts

Cosatu is reacting to reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration is planning to lay off 30,000 public servants in the next three years as part cost-cutting measures.

FILE: Cosatu briefing the media following its central executive committee meeting. Picture: Clement Manyathela/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has announced plans to embark on a national strike against retrenchments in the private and public sectors, saying it feels betrayed particularly by government.

The federation held a briefing on Tuesday afternoon following its two-day special central executive committee (CEC) meeting.

The Mail & Guardian recently reported that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration is planning to lay off 30,000 public servants in the next three years as part of the government’s cost-cutting measures.

However, the government has denied this.

Impala Platinum also announced it would cut 13,000 jobs while Gold Fields said on Tuesday that it plans to shed over a 1,000 jobs.

Any move by government to retrench workers will no doubt put Ramaphosa on a collision course with Cosatu, the federation that endorsed and supported him to take up the highest office.

Cosatu has reacted to reports of plans to cut job in the public sector and says it feels betrayed.

Spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said: “We feel very betrayed by this decision to retrench, we don’t believe the explanation from government. That is why the CEC said we are not going to talk to any minister, we are not going to listen to anyone in government.”

He says they have no choice but to go strike.

“And we will be having pickets which would allow the congress to prepare a strike and give us a date of a national strike.”

Pamla says the federation’s leaders have called for an urgent meeting with the African National Congress’ top six to address this issue.

‘WORKERS WON’T VOTE AGAINST THEIR INTERESTS’

Cosatu has sent a stern warning to the ANC, saying its members will not vote for the party in next year's elections if government continues with plans to cut jobs in the public sector.

The federation’s leaders say they will have an urgent meeting with the ANC to send a clear and unambiguous message that workers will not vote against their interests in next year’s elections.

Pamla says: “They have increased VAT and now they are thinking about cutting the public service. We feel this government has really taken a side.”

Cosatu it warns that if the ANC sabotages the dreams of workers “we have no reason to support it”.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)

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