Home South African Union calls on state to absorb contract workers to combat unemployment numbers

Union calls on state to absorb contract workers to combat unemployment numbers

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General secretary of Nupsaw Solly Malema said the government should offer permanent employment to community health-care workers, Expanded Public Works Programme beneficiaries and early childhood development practitioners.

The union has called on the government to absorb contract workers Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

THE NATIONAL Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (Nupsaw) has called on the government to absorb contract workers to combat skyrocketing unemployment numbers released by Stats SA.

General secretary Solly Malema said the government should offer permanent employment to community health-care workers, Expanded Public Works Programme beneficiaries and early childhood development practitioners to address the 0.4% increase that took the unemployment rate to 35.3% in the last quarter of 2021.

Malema said this was the highest figure recorded since the start of the survey in 2008, prompting the union to condemn the government’s anti-worker stance which sought to trim the public service workforce through austerity measures while the country was struggling to create jobs.

“Despite the high unemployment figures and a staggering economy, the public sector continues shedding jobs unjustifiably and the government refuses to fill vacant posts.

“The union is pleased that through its intervention, the Department of Health in Gauteng has backed down from its plans to terminate the contracts of more than 800 Covid-19 workers, which included doctors and nurses.

“While we celebrate this victory, we know that the struggle must continue,” he said.

“We are at loggerheads with the same department over the contract situation of Expanded Public Works Programme staff,” said Malema.

The union would not sit idly by while the government trampled on the rights of workers, he said.

Meanwhile, Stats SA showed that the number of unemployed people increased by 278,000 to 7.9 million in the fourth quarter of last year.

“We also call on the government to in-source security officers and cleaners. We believe that this would go a long way in improving the rate of gainful employment,” Malema said.

“This growing trend of job cuts must get a serious nip in the bud. That’s why as a union, we have planned a series of massive mass actions to fight against unemployment which has reached a crisis level.”

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