Working class women from many organisations attended a workshop on organising in the workplace hosted by the Casual Workers Advice Office. The workshop was held in Bez Valley in Johannesburg on 24 and 25 February this year.
There were different sectors represented – from around Gauteng, Cape Town and the Eastern Cape – at the gathering to share experiences about workplace struggles, and if the workplace is well organised or not.
The purpose of the workshop was on how to deal with organising the work environment. Sectors which came to the workshop were Health, Cleaning and Security. There were also participants from Community Development Projects, reps from PRASA, Framers, Dabur SA (chemicals), and McCain, patrollers, the municipality, Makro, MECS, Ferrero, Nulaid and Pioneer Foods.
Most of the people who were in the workshop were working class women. They work as contractors, casual workers and seasonal workers.
Women who work in the farming sector are oppressed and exploited because they do not have any toilets they can use to relieve themselves in while at work. The toilets are for both men and women and are without privacy.
At the workplace, men get higher positions while women are not considered. Patriarchy prevails because most women are abused at work. It is not a safe place at all.
Women also shared experiences about challenges they face in the home. The women are also not allowed to be the head of the household. If the husband passes away the woman needs to leave the house or get another husband to secure shelter.
Women around South Africa are suffering like this. The government does not do anything about it. Each and every day there are retrenchments of workers. Women are most affected. Participants at the workshop said it is time for women to form solidarity for all and help each other.