Cape Town – On Wednesday 25 April, South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), its affiliates and its allies in civil society, will be taking part in a general strike in protest against the R20 minimum wage hourly rate.
Saftu has described it as one of the biggest attacks on working-class people, the trade unions and the poor majority of South Africans since the end of apartheid.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has also urged South Africans to down tools and support the national strike.
“Support is growing daily and we are confident that we shall bring South Africa to a standstill and fill the towns and villages with angry workers, employed and unemployed, member of all unions or none, who are demanding action to end the country’s crisis of unemployment, poverty and inequality,” Saftu said in a statement.
The National Minimum Wage Bill has been sent back to the Department of Labour to redraft the Bill and take account of the submissions made to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Labour.
One of these submissions was made by Saftu on 17 April, demanding that the Department responds positively to it and “not just tinker with the details of the Bill but make fundamental changes so that the minimum wage becomes a living wage”.
According to the statement made by Saftu, South Africa is the most unequal country in the world
“10% of the population earn more than 50% of the household incomes while 20% earn less than 1.5%.
“Deloitte accountants have calculated that the average pay of executives in the country’s top 100 companies is now R17.97 million a year, which amounts to R69 000 a day and R8 625 an hour!” Saftu said.
They have accused “overpaid tycoons”, that together President Cyril Ramaphosa, want workers and their families to survive on just R20 an hour, something they would never dream of accepting for themselves.
“The workers most affected are those who are already the most vulnerable, the unemployed, those in atypical forms of casual employment, part-timers and temporary workers who could be blackmailed by employers,” Saftu said.
Protesters will be assembling at Keizersgracht in Cape Town and marching to the City’s offices, as well as Parliament, at 10h00.