COSATU leadership. Source: Congress of South African Trade Unions - COSATU Today (Facebook).

Johannesburg – The Congress of South Africa Trade Union (COSATU) has announced that it will lead a protest to the Union Buildings on the 4th of December 2020, in defence of Collective Bargaining in both the Public and the private sector. South Africa’s largest federation announced this during the post Central Executive Committee presser on thursday, the 26th of November 2020.

COSATU has come out clear that collective bargaining should be defended as a constitutional right, and that government has gone out of its way to undermine this fundamental right by “abandoning a legally binding agreement and trying to unilaterally impose a wage freeze until 2024”. The federation has been relentless in the fight against the undermining of labour laws and collective agreements which the government has dishonored.

NEHAWU, COSATU’s largest affiliate, has also led a march and pickets across all provinces in defense of collective bargaining. on the 7th of October, COSATU led a multi-federation march to the Presidency to demand collective bargaining should be defended and that government should respect wage agreements. The federations says that the Central Executive Committee will lead a protest action/sit-in at the Union Buildings on the 4th December 2020, to demand a response from the Presidency on the memorandum submitted on the 7th October 2020.

The federation also came out strong and vocal in support of the on-going protest action by one of its affiliates, the Communication Workers Union (CWU), in defense workers at the state-owned broadcasting corporation, SABC. “The CEC offered its full support to the workers at SABC who are pushing back against retrenchments under the leadership of our affiliated union CWU and other unions in the institutions. SABC is too important an institution to allow the reactionary board members and managers to gut like we have seen other state institutions.”

“We also offer total support to the Community Health Workers who are currently on strike under the leadership of our affiliate NEHAWU. The unity and resilience of these workers is commendable and exemplary. We call on employers to accede to the fair and legitimate demands of these workers”, said COSATU.

The federation says it will also write to the ILO urging it to immediately register a protest with the South African government’s breach of Convention 154, the Right to organize and Collective Bargaining Convention and Convention 87 on the Freedom of Association. “The ILO must demand some level of accountability from the South African government”.

COSATU says all its provincial structures will continue holding Demonstrations and Lunch-time Pickets at different departments, institutions, and workplaces where memorandums were submitted.

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