Cosatu Threatens Nationwide Strike, Demands Salary Increases

Cosatu Threatens Nationwide Strike, Demands Salary Increases

- The Congress of South African Trade Unions, Cosatu, is threatening to embark on a nationwide strike as they demand salary increases

- Despite negotiations having reportedly stalled, Cosatu says they also demand an improved housing allowance for government employees

- The trade union says they will launch a national shut down next month should the government fail to meet its demands

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South Africa could be shut down next month if the Congress of South African Trade Union Cosatu’s plan to go ahead with a national strike is a success.

The trade union wants a number of demands as far the public sector is concerned and it is reported that talks between the government and public sector unions on salary increases have hit a deadlock.

Various media houses have reported that a national strike is on the horizon following a failure to reach a consensus in the negotiations.

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MyBroadBand reports that Cosatu and its affiliates are demanding a number of benefits such as an improved housing allowance among others.

The website also has it that the union wants a R2 500 housing allowance, salary increases linked to inflation plus 4% as well as a risk allowance of 12% of basic salary if workers are affected by Covid-19.

Should the government fail to provide these demands, the union has clearly stated it will declare a formal dispute and if that move does not yield the desired results, then a strike action will be taken.

Cosatu's threat follows the SAA Pilots’ Association (SAAPA) which said in early April that it would continue strike action against the national embattled and cash-strapped airline.

The publication indicated that SAAPA represents 89% of SAA’s pilots and its strike prevents these members from being used by SAA.

Cosatu has threatened to embark on a nationwide strike next month as they demand big salary increases. Image: Twitter
Cosatu has threatened to embark on a nationwide strike next month as they demand big salary increases. Image: Twitter
Source: Twitter

Moreover, in a separate issue, the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union and the United National Transport Union are also declaring a wage dispute with another parastatal, Transnet.

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The dispute arose after Transnet offered a 3% non-pensionable allowance on basic salary as a wage increase.

With the country and the economy still recovering from the coronavirus pandemic outbreak, the threat of strike action comes at a time when the government aims to institute an effective nominal public sector wage freeze over the next three years.

It is reported that this is a measure that the government hopes that can save money on public-sector wages and reduce its debt. As a result of the pandemic, many businesses were forced to shut doors last year and some are massively impacted by lockdowns this year.

Briefly News previously reported that Cosatu had declared that workers from the public and private sector should go on a strike on Wednesday, 7 October last year.

The union’s general secretary, Bheki Ntshalintshali, affirmed that the strike would go on as planned until it resolved the underlying disputes it has with the government.

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Cosatu leader Zingiswa Losi said key debates include low wages that the government pays COSATU workers, inequality, Covid-19-related corruption, the corruption that involved the asbestos project in the Free State and gender-based violence.

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