Thousands of members of Numsa and Saftu in the Northern Cape are expected to travel to Bloemfontein today, where a march is being planned
WHILE fake warnings of blockaded streets and closed schools did the rounds in Kimberley yesterday, indications are that the nationwide minimum wage strike planned by the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) is not likely to have much of an impact on the city.
According to the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), who will join today’s protest action by Saftu, no marches have been planned for the city.
Instead, local Numsa and Saftu members are expected to join in the activities being planned in Bloemfontein.
The regional secretary of Numsa for the Northern Cape and Free State, Andile Zitho, said yesterday that thousands of members of Numsa and Saftu in the Northern Cape are expected to travel to Bloemfontein today, where a march is being planned against the proposed National Minimum Wage.
“We expect about 12 000 members to participate in the strike in Bloemfontein. We have secured 20 buses from suppliers in the Northern Cape to transport members from as far as Upington. However, any worker who wants to join the strike can do so,” said Zitho.
“This strike is for the next generation as we cannot sit back as the government implements a R20 an hour national minimum wage. The challenge is also that the current workforce will be replaced by those who are willing to work for that wage. We need to make it clear to government that the wage is not sufficient for workers,” said Zitho.
Saftu, in a statement, said that members who want to participate in the strike must bear in mind that the “no work, no pay” rule would apply.
“Saftu has given notice of its intention to initiate a one-day national protest action. The protest action is aimed at highlighting the federation’s concerns surrounding the minimum wage, economic policy and free education. Employees who wish to participate in this protest action are entitled to do so and no disciplinary action for absenteeism may be instituted against such employees. The ‘no work, no pay’ rule will, however, be applicable,” the union said.
Cosatu meanwhile has lambasted claims and messages that have made the rounds on social media stating that the federation would join the planned strike today.
“Cosatu has noted with deep concern the misleading statements by some leaders of Saftu, who have been claiming that Cosatu will join their planned strike today. We want to make it clear that this is totally not true and Cosatu is not part of the planned strike. We condemn the mischievous attempt to confuse our members by Saftu,” the federation said in a statement yesterday.
“Cosatu supports the National Minimum Wage and we have no reason to strike over something that will benefit the workers. The minimum wage will be a huge achievement that will see wages rise for the 47% of workers, which is about six million workers, who earn less than R20 an hour currently. This represents the foundation that will help us build towards the goal of a living wage.
“The strike on Wednesday (today) is based on fabrication, misrepresentation and outlandish conspiracy theories.”
Social media messages urging people to stay home and businesses to close their doors for the day, spread like wildfire yesterday.
The messages also advised parents not to send their children to school and public transport owners to stay away from the streets.
The CEO of the Northern Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nocci), Sharon Steyn, said that she was aware of the messages on social media which have been causing confusion for some business owners.
“With regard to the national strike action tomorrow by Saftu, Nocci cannot give any comment as to what the situation will be. The police are prepared if there is any disruption that might take place. We are just advising all businesses and persons to be prepared for any unforeseen happenings. Saftu will be handing over a memorandum to Nocci on May 1, 2018,” said Steyn.
The spokesperson for the Northern Cape Department of Education, Lehuma Ntuane, said that schools across the Province would be open today, despite the warnings that parents should keep their children at home.
“Schooling at all schools will take place as normal. There was no word from national that there will not be any school,” said Ntuane.
The police in Kimberley said that they were not aware of any events being planned in the city but would monitor the situation.