Government Says Striking Workers Won't Be Paid

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Two of South Africa’s largest trade unions are currently embarking on a National Shutdown in protest of the rising cost of living in the country. However, workers have been warned that they will not be paid if they join the shutdown.

 


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The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) will march to several key points around the country. The unions explain that rising cost of food, fuel and increased occurrences of load shedding is the reason for their strike.

Cosatu said, “The protest action is aimed to fight against the economic crisis and its negative consequences on workers and the marginalised poor communities.

Unions have called on all non-essential workers to strike for the day. They added that strike is protected in terms of the Section 77 of the Socio-Economic Protest Action and no employers can intimidate workers who choose to join the strike.

The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) has warned its workers they will not be paid if they join the strike. They added that employees who fall within the essential services are prohibited from participating in the national strike.

“The department has provided government departments with guidelines to apply the principle of ‘No work, no pay’ to manage those public servants who intend to participate in the strike action and to put the necessary contingency plans to deal with service delivery disruptions,” said the department. 

Political economist Mandla Lionel Isaacs says despite government promises, poverty, inequality and unemployment has not been adequately addressed. Unfortunately these issues are complex and it will be challenging for the unions to get a response from the government. 

If government has not been able to do something about these underlying issues over time, it's unclear that they're going to be able to do something in the days to come

They explained that South Africa has one of the lowest percentages of adults employed in the world. This results in those who work having to support family members. They add that economic challenges facing the country can be addressed through job creation. 

 

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