Inequality lives on in South Africa

Bosses in many companies in South Africa are still getting their huge bonuses while workers on the floor who are directly involved in production are still earning below the living wage.

In January 2009, Volkswagen SA workers were instructed to work four days every second week with a mini-shut down at the end of

February which was called a global shutdown due to the currently global economic crisis.

And yet directors, managers and supervisors were not affected. They were at work as usual in front of their computers and telephones doing nothing except playing games for the whole week.

As I thought about this sensitive topic, I realized that we who are most turning the knobs, must not allow the shop stewards to keep quiet about this phenomenon.

The time to confine themselves in representing their members only on bread and butter issues is over.

Like all disciplined, committed working class leaders, they must seek to improve the image of these bosses by censuring those who violate the principles of the Institute of People Management (IPM).

A strong message must be sent to them that they will not get away with misappropriation of the finances of the working class.

All what is needed from them is to recognize that white supremacy is a fallacy, their attitude needs to change or accept the blame.

As Numsa is a trade union movement its mandate is to ensure that its members' jobs are guaranteed, on the other hand to flex its muscles and have an eye on the smooth running of these multinational companies.

Most companies are not operating up to expectations, not because of these biting economic conditions but simply because the bosses who are running these companies turn a blind eye to the plight of workers and enrich themselves.

When questioned they threaten job security, benefits or workers through casualisation, contracts, outsourcing and retrenchment.

Workers doubt if the South African government has the political will to do anything drastic. As we speak today what is lacking from our government is to do something about companies that don’t adhere to existing legislation to ensure that workers are treated humanely due to the current global recession.

Government has always satisfied the requirements of the global economy and the international finance institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund instead of addressing the needs of the working class.

It is time for workers to make company bosses understand that arrogance is not the best instrument with which to address burning issues. Neither is leaving South Africa a solution.

Most workers survive by borrowing money from loan sharks. According to the United Nations, every second person in South Africa is poor. About 30% of South Africans are ultra-poor and their situation is not changing at all.

Every day there is a yawning gap between the few wealthy individuals and the poor. This country is one of the most unequal countries in the world. 95% of those affected by retrenchments are Africans.

African workers rush to these voluntary severance packages because they remain ignorant of what is happening and misread the situation.