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Cosatu: None of our strike demands are unreasonable

Cosatu has called on thousands of workers to take part in its national strike on Wednesday.

Cosatu members strike against the country's high unemployment and the unbundling of Eskom on 13 February 2019. Picture: @_cosatu/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - As Cosatu calls on thousands of workers to take part in its national strike on Wednesday, the trade union federation says that it is not holding the economy to ransom and only demanding that jobs be protected.

Cosatu is against President Cyril Ramaphosa's recent announcement to split Eskom into three separate entities to deal with generation, transmission and distribution.

It also wants government to act against the high unemployment rate, which stands at 27.1%.

Cosatu's Mike Shingange: "Our strike countrywide today is not making any unreasonable demands, it can't be unreasonable to fight for your job, it can't be unreasonable to say as a country let's come up with ideas to create more jobs. None of our demands are unreasonable. We cannot allow ourselves to sit back and be retrenched."

Meanwhile, Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi, who will be marching in Kwazulu-Natal, says that unemployment and job losses are a national crisis.

“We are not going to deal with those issues. If we are going to put more people at the burden of government, in terms of getting them into a social grant system, who is going to contribute if most people are unemployed?”

The South African Democratic Teachers Union has called on teachers to skip classes and take to the streets, despite criticism that this will impact negatively on learners.

Losi says it's a situation that cannot be avoided.

She also says that Finance Minister Tito Mboweni must respond to how government aims to address their concerns in his budget speech next week.

Additional reporting by Bonga Dlulane.

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