Cosatu strike off to slow start in Joburg, Cape Town

Cosatu, which is made up of 1.8 million workers in the country, is calling on all members to stay away from their jobs on Thursday.

Samwu members participate in Cosatu's national stay away on 7 October 2021 in Cape Town. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - Members affiliated to South Africa’s largest trade union federation have started to gather in the Johannesburg CBD as part of Thursday’s nationwide stay away.

Cosatu, which is made up of 1.8 million workers in the country, is calling on all members to stay away from their jobs today.

In Gauteng, the main march will start at the Mary Fitzgerald Square and will proceed to the Minerals Council of South Africa’s office.

While it’s a slow start to Cosatu’s national day of action, hundreds of members are expected to fill the Mary Fitzgerald Square in Johanngurg as they protest against corruption, retrenchments and the country's high unemployment rate.

Members who’ve started to trickle in were in high spirits, hoping to put pressure on government and the private sector to stop what they called attacks directed at workers.

Those already gathered said that the problems faced by South Africa’s labour force had been ignored and undermined.

"The government is not taking us seriously as workers, so we need to add our voices to show that we want to respect employees," one Cosatu member said.

Members will march through the city and will handover their list of demands to the Gauteng premier's office as well as the Minerals Council of South Africa.

Hundreds of people have gathered in Cape Town's city centre to take part in Cosatu’s nationwide strike.

Workers from various sectors gathered in Hanover Street with their red T-shirts and posters reading "Dan Plato we want our increases" and "No to job losses".

They’ll be marching to the Cape Town Civic Centre where they’ll hand over a memorandum to the City of Cape Town demanding that the municipality gets rid of labour brokers and addresses their concerns around the EPWP system.

Cosatu’s Malvern De Bruyn: "We're unhappy with how they treat workers in Cape Town, especially municipal workers. If you look at the EPWP, they've abused for all the years. They've now replaced permanent workers with EPWP workers to save money."

De Bruyn said that they also wanted to highlight the issues being raised nationally, such as corruption, job losses and retrenchments.

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