Numsa Calls on Workers to Defend the Right to Strike

The ANC-led government is attacking the working class with changes to the Labour Relations Act (LRA), Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), and it intends to implement the National Minimum Wage Bill. Together these changes are an attack on the working class and their families because they reduce the hard won rights which workers fought and died for under Apartheid. One of the greatest threats to the working class is the proposal to limit the right to strike.
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) is calling on all workers to unite and fight these proposals. This is a battle of survival and we cannot afford to fail. NUMSA is working with progressive Left pro-working class movements to defend the rights of all workers. Together with the Casual Workers Advice Office (CWAO), Lawyers for Human Rights, United Front, GIWUSA and other working class movements we will fight to protect the right to strike. We are calling on all workers to join us as we defend this sacred right.
The state wants to create a pool of cheap labour, which is unable to use the right to strike as a tool to negotiate better working conditions. They want to take away the power of workers to decide when to go on strike and when to end a strike!
The National Minimum Wage is a benchmark for low wages!
The National Minimum Wage (NMW) bill is a benchmark for low wages for all workers. Even white collar workers who earn more than the proposed R20 per hour slave wage, can expect to be retrenched, in favour of workers who will earn lower wages. The ANC- led government has been actively promoting inequality. It’s been more than two decades of ANC rule and White families still earn five times more than African families; we are the most unequal society in the world; and more than half the population lives in abject poverty. Sadly the leadership of trade union federations like FEDUSA; COSATU
and NACTU have sold out the working class by agreeing to these backward proposals at NEDLAC. They are clearly pursuing their own narrow political agenda at the expense of ordinary workers. There is no other explanation for why they would agree to these changes which reverse our rights as ordinary workers.
NUMSA General Secretary Irvin Jim is calling on all workers to prepare for rolling mass action.
“Because government now has set a benchmark and a precedent, employers are going to reduce you as a benchmark to the National Minimum Wage. They are not comparing you to CEO’s who in 2010 were earning 1728 times more than ordinary workers. Today if they were to be honest and disclose you will see huge inequalities between ordinary workers and CEO’s.”
The ANC has consistently betrayed the working class. We cannot allow them to pay us slave wages, when CEO’s in South Africa are amongst the wealthiest in the world. South Africa leads in the world as having the largest gap between workers and CEO’s. Furthermore, we will not allow them to take away our right to strike. We must remind them of the power of the working class. The Apartheid state was brought to its knees because workers and their families engaged in battles against the state with regular strikes, stay-aways and mass action. We will have to be united so we can fight back and defeat the enemy of the working class.
Labour brokers case
NUMSA went to the constitutional court on Thursday to defend the rights of temporary and contract workers. This is because labour brokers like Assign Services are unhappy with the new provisions of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) which regulates labour brokering.
NUMSA won a decision at the Labour Appeals Court last year which confirmed that temporary and casual workers must become permanent after three months, with the same rights and benefits. Assign services took the matter to court because they want to be able to continue to abuse the working class with temporary contracts, poor working conditions and low pay. The only way they can do this is if these contracts are allowed to continue unendingly.
NUMSA was joined in this fight by the (CWAO). We are united in our desire to see the abusive practice of labour brokering coming to an end, once and for all. If we are successful it will be a victory for all workers in the country.
Judgement in the case is reserved and we are waiting for a decision from the Constitutional Court.
Aluta continua!
The struggle continues! Issued by Irvin Jim NUMSA General Secretary
For more information contact: Phakamile Hlubi-Majola NUMSA National Spokesperson 0833767725