Metalworkers yesterday (Tuesday) staged mass protest demonstrations throughout the country, heeding a call by the Congress of South African Trade Unions to demand government intervention to end job losses.
The lunch-hour pickets and marches were organized by COSATU affiliates in the manufacturing sector in a show of support for the largest labour movement’s jobs and poverty campaign. Other unions which took part in the campaign include Chemical Energy Paper Printing wood and allied Workers Union(Ccepawu) and South African Clothing and Textile Workers Union(Sactwu). It (campaign) preceeded the one- day general strike to highlight is concern over high unemployment.
COSATU plan to conduct a series of sectoral demonstrations involving public sector unions, mining construction and private services sector unions this week as a build-up to the planned national stayaway on May 18, 2006.
“Metalworkers in their numbers participated in industrial protests in the Cape Metropole and Atlantis against unacceptable job destruction in the metal and engineering sector, which often resulted to proliferation of labour brokers and job casualisation,” Said Clement Heradien, NUMSA Western Cape regional organizer.
In Johannesburg’s major industrial areas, hundreds of workers embarked on work stayaways, after confusion was caused by the postponement of the general one-day strike, resulting in NUMSA officials running on a rampage in a bid to persuade workers to return to work.
Charles Bezuidenhout, NUMSA Wits Central secretary said the majority of companies took part in the strike in preparation for next week’s planned nationwide strike.
Workers in major steel foundries in the Witbank, Middleburg, and Nelspruit in Mpumalanga were reported to have turned out in full force in the picket lines to demand secured jobs, according to NUMSA regional secretary Eric Linda.
For more information contact NUMSA national information officer, Mziwakhe Hlangani.