Joint statement of NUMSA – Trade Unions and Progressive Social Movements

Joint statement of NUMSA – Trade Unions and Progressive Social Movements on the planned mass demonstration outside Parliament against the Employment Tax Incentive Scheme/Youth wage subsidy.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) in the Western Cape has been engaged in a series of engagements with progressive social and youth movements recently around “Jobs for Youth Campaign”. We held bilateral meetings, which culminated into mass meetings in communities and factory general meetings to prepare for our planned action to coincide with the Budget Speech to be delivered by the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordham.
These engagements laid a foundation to consolidate and deepen our historic ties between leading workers formations and progressive social movements of our country under the banner “United Front in Action” for Decent Jobs for the Youth. Our action for decent jobs is supported by the following organisations of peoples’ of power;

  • South African Catering Commercial and Allied Workers Union (SACCAWU);
  • Communication Workers Union (CWU);
  • Public and Allied Workers Union of South Africa (PAWUSA);
  • Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU);
  • South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU);
  • Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA);
  • Concerned Education Forum (CEF);
  • Commercial Stevedoring Agriculture and Allied Workers Union (CSAAWU);
  • Abahlali Basemjondolo (AB);
  • Nathi Skhona (NS);
  • Housing Assembly (HA);
  • Youth Development Council (YDC);
  • AIDC
  • Equal Education
  • School Safety Marshall
  • Progressive Youth Movement (PYM)

We all agree that we live in a country that is engulfed by the crisis of capitalism which manifests itself in mass unemployment, deepening poverty and widening inequalities, mostly affecting the Black African urban and rural working class youth of our country.
We collectively acknowledged that the current waves of unemployment, poverty and inequality are a manifestation of the neo-liberal economic policy choices being fostered and entrenched over the past 20 years of our political freedom by the African National Congress (ANC)-led government. As a result of this we are experiencing daily community protests against poor service delivery.
NUMSA and progressive social movements share a view that white monopoly capital remains in power in South Africa today, despite the democratic breakthrough of 1994, which was achieved through the shed blood of our revolutionary martyr and Communist hero comrade Chris Hani. Most importantly, we firmly believe that political power is just a shell, when it is not accompanied by genuine economic emancipation. Therefore, real political power firmly remains in the hands of white monopoly capital, which owns the decisive means of production in our country.
It is precisely this situation which continues to generate centuries-old conditions of humiliation and the suppression of the talents of the vast majority of the people, who are Black and working class.
In line with the resolution taken at the NUMSA Special National Congress (SNC) held in December 2013, we have decided to drive a “Jobs for Youth Campaign”, that mobilises the workers, unemployed, youth, with the working class as the leading motive force, to campaign for Decent Jobs for the Youth. We are clear that youth unemployment constitutes a “ticking time bomb”, and requires a coherent and decisive break from the failed capitalist neo-liberal economic policies.
It is within this context that we reject the Employment Tax Incentive Scheme, as signed by President Jacob Zuma, in order to purportedly address the crisis of youth unemployment in our country. Since the publication of the Employment Tax Incentive Bill, NUMSA has been against the tax incentive scheme arguing that the scheme was a false solution to the burning crisis of youth unemployment. Through the scheme, government will simply be bribing the bosses, through the public purse, in the form of tax rebates, to “create” already existing jobs, whilst no real and decent new jobs are being created to absorb the reserve army of the unemployed youth, which is languishing in squalor in Black African working class townships and rural countryside.

Why the Tax Incentive Scheme or Youth Wage Subsidy is a False solution to Youth Unemployment?

We have argued, correctly, that the Tax Incentive Scheme or Youth Wage Subsidy will lead to the following disastrous and negative consequences;
(1)  Subsidisation of employers for taking on workers on whom they would have taken anyway;
(2)  Displacement of older and unsubsidized workers; – this makes it for the vulnerable workers such as farm workers to be evicted
(3)  Creation of a multi-tiered labour market where workers in the same establishment and who are doing the same job will have different wages, benefits and overall employment conditions; AND
(4)  Widening of inequality.
(5)  Shrinking revenue which makes it very difficult for government to provide public services such as education, healthcare, housing, etc.

Why is the Tax Incentive Scheme or Youth Wage Subsidy being imposed? 

Contrary to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) protocols that requires socio-economic policies to be discussed by social partners, namely government, labour, business and community constituencies before they are tabled by parliament, the Youth Employment Tax Incentive Bill was passed in parliament and signed by President Jacob Zuma into law before it was processed in NDLAC.
The Employment Tax Incentive Bill bypassed the NEDLAC processes, obviously due to the greed of the bosses and the desperation of ANC politicians to capture the youth vote as we approach the 7th May 2014, General Elections, and secondly, it was done to reinforce a false belief in our people, especially to the electorate, an ideological fog of “we have a story to tell” that was widely spread during the State of the Nation Address (SoNA) by President Jacob Zuma, even though our people, particularly the workers and the poor, live in shameful and scandalous conditions as in some instances worse than they were under apartheid.

Join the United Front in Action for Decent Jobs for the Youth!!

We cannot allow the ANC government to feed our youth with false solutions to the crisis of youth unemployment.
South Africa has been plunged into this crisis by the adoption by the ANC government of capitalist neoliberal social and economic policies before and during the negotiated settlement and post 1994.
National Treasury, since 1994, combined with the Reserve Bank, have been the unashamed champions of the South African version of capitalist neoliberalism. South African Ministers of Finance since 1994 have been shopstewards of neoliberal capitalist policies. Today Pravin Gordham is the Number One Shopstewards of Neo-liberalism in South Africa.
We do not expect any new changes to the budget Pravin will announce that will fundamentally alter the capitalist neoliberal spending patterns South Africa has been following since 1994. We expect, as usual, our people to be fooled and lured to sleep with false promises of millions of jobs from construction and other capitalist projects. We expect the youth to be lied to about jobs from the Youth Employment Tax Incentive law.
More painfully, we expect Pravin, like his Master President Jacob Zuma, to pontificate that “South Africa is better than in was before 1994”!
Nothing short than the full and radical implementation of the Freedom Charter and the total abandonment of capitalist neoliberal policies will resolve South African crisis of massive unemployment, nationwide poverty and extreme unemployment – all of them deeply affecting Black youth and Black women in particular.
NUMSA, joined by progressive social movements and progressive trade unions calls on workers, the unemployed, youth, students and the poor of the Western Cape, to join our “United Front in Action” to demand Decent Jobs for the Black African working class youth. We call on them to occupy the streets as we march to Parliament tomorrow Wednesday 26 February 2014.
We are expected to converge outside parliament tomorrow Wednesday 26 February 2014, at 12h00, a representative from the Office of the Chief Whip from the majority party in parliament – the African National Congress (ANC), will come at 14h00pm, to accept our Memorandum of Demands.
Vuyo Lufele
Regional Secretary
NUMSA Western Cape
Mobile: 078 511 3043