On 1 May 2023, Simunye Workers Forum (SWF) and Casual Worker’s Advice Office (CWAO) celebrated Worker’s Day at their offices in Germiston East of Ekurhuleni and this happens yearly and this year their celebration was so different because each time they celebrate by hosting workshops to educate participants about their rights. This year, it was about comrades telling their stories about their workplaces and understanding that SWF is an anti-xenophobic Forum. As a result, some comrades from Zimbabwe briefly told their stories of where they come from and how Simunye and CWAO helped them through difficult times.
This celebration started at 09:00 am, the master of the ceremony was Mr Edgar Mokgola who briefed the attendants about the program of the day. The SWF and CWAO celebrated Labour Day with comrades from Lesotho who came to learn more about what SWF & CWAO are doing for the struggle of the workers. Comrade Teboho Kobeli who is a NUCAAW (National Union of Civil and Allied Workers) member and Makhatho Mosele who is a shop steward at the Game store in Maseru, Lesotho, introduced themselves and told everyone about the struggles that they are facing in Lesotho with the South African stores over there. Comrade Kobeli said, “Low wages and long hours under labour brokers is a huge challenge.”
Comrade Ighsaan Schroeder from CWAO gave the comrades a brief highlight about the history of Workers Day and be celebrated. He said, “Round about the 1940s comrades fought for shorter hours where by in 24 hours as a person you need to juggle all your duties like 8 hours work, 8 hours sleep and 8 hours to do anything you want to do as a person, but now people are crying to get those long hours because the bosses turned this short hours thing to their advantage and cut people from working for 40 hours a week. In some companies like Martin & Martin workers get 40 hours a month if they are lucky, so comrades there are fighting to get longer hours. The initial plan of the fight for short hours has reversed.”
Comrade John Appolis answered all the questions that were being asked after Schroeder’s discussion and explanations. Later, comrades celebrated with struggle songs, and afterward, a few comrades shared their journey with both SWF and CWAO, stating what and why they were celebrating.
Comrade Nomfundo Mgaga from Mr Sweets told everyone that after they came to Simunye their lives at work changed, now they are treated like permanent employees even though they are permanently working part-time, Comrade Vuyelwa Magidela told everyone that at Simba struggle continues even after Simunye helped them to become permanent employees. Comrade Lucas Monareng said that Simunye helped them become permanently employed as well. They are still fighting for some of the comrades to be registered as well.
The day was well spent, and comrades celebrated their day very comradely.
This article was submitted on 06 May 2023. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online (www.Karibu.org.za), and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.