JOHANNESBURG– Thousands of workers across South Africa on Wednesday heeded the call by the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), the country’s second largest labour federation, to protest the planned introduction of a a a National Minimum Wage of 20 rand (about 1.61 RS dollar) an hour.
In major towns, many shops were closed and the usual hustle and bustle of traffic on the streets was nowhere to be seen.
In Johannesburg, workers clad in Fastu’s trademark red poured into the city centre from different directions in a scene reminiscent of actions by the Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) in its earlier days.
However. Cosatu, the largest trade union federation in South Africa, as well as the second largest federation, the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) did not participate in the action called by Saftu, whose leader, Zwelinzima Vavi, was unceremoniously booted out of Cosatu a few years ago.
Vavi, claimed that workers from Cosatu and other rival trade union federations had ignored their leaders’ decision not to join the strike, presented a memorandum of demands to the Gauteng Premier’s Office, the Chamber of Mines and the local Department of Labour here.
In Bloemfontein, there was another big turnout with workers marching to the Department of Labour in the Bloemfontein central business district. President Cyril Ramaphosa came under criticism for supporting the implementation of the National Minimum Wage.
In Port Elizabeth in Eastern Cape Province, the heartland of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), the automotive industry was the hardest hit as production came to a standstill at VW in Uitenhage while the Isuzu and Ford motor plants ran limited operations. Striking workers marched to the Port Elizabeth City Hall to deliver their memorandum.
In Cape Town in Western Cape Province, workers also came out in their numbers. In Limpopo Province, thousands gathered in Polokwane, the provincial capital and marched to the Departments of Education, Labour and Social Development.
In Durban in KwaZulua-Natal Province, Saftu members painted the town red venting their frustration over the proposed national minimum wage and labour law amendments. They also decried Saftu’s exclusion from Nedlac, the National Economic Development and Labour Council.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK