SAFTU Calls For A Working Class Summit

The #ScrapTheLabourBillsCampaign spent Youth Day (16 June 2018) accessing the progress of the campaign and putting together a way forward. The campaign held a meeting at the Casual Workers Advice Office (CWAO) in Germiston, and industrial area east of Johannesburg.

Comrade John Appolis, General Secretary of the General and Industrial Workers Union of Soputh Africa (GIWUSA) and coordinator of the campaign started off the meeting with a presentation looking into the amendments that directly attack the right to strike. Cde John spoke on the compulsory picketing rules, the added red tape around conciliation procedures, compulsory advisory arbitrations and the how workers’ ability to strike or not, has now been handed to the labour court and CCMA commissioners.

Representatives of social movements present at the meeting also reviewed the campaign and the big strike which happened on the 25th of April 2018. Discussions also looked at the response from the government and workers after the strike and then finalised a way forward. From the discussion it became clear that the government is set to ignore opposing views and pass the newly proposed amendments as law. On 16 May 2018 the National Assembly adopted the amendments. The next step is to get them through the National Council of Provinces and the President will then signed them into law. It is clear that the bills will be put into law now and that the campaign is to plan how to respond to this.

As part of it’s response, the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) has proposed a working class summit to be held in July. The aim of this summit is to mobilise all working class organisations to start planning a general strike that will take on all the struggles faced by the working class. This summit is to coordinate all struggles that the working class are taking on and increase support for the campaign against the labour bills.

As the country commemorates youth day, workers felt that the youth is not actively participating in the struggle against the labour bills. The absence of the youth is mainly blamed on the high levels of youth unemployment and that the youth is new to information around the LRA and the BCEA. Even though the has been youth presence in the campaign through students and unions like the Young Nurses Indaba, workers felt that the campaign has not mobilised young people.


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