Cosatu warns on sacking threat

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Labour federation Cosatu has vowed to fight the government if any public servants are fired for downing tools in the planned national strike.

The threat was made after Public Service and Administration Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi said the public sector unions had not notified her of any impending strikes or go-slow action.

She warned that anyone embarking on illegal industrial action could be fired.

Fraser-Moleketi said any action taking place over the next few days would be seen as an unprotected strike and measures would be taken against employees.

Cosatu has announced that the nationwide public servants’ strike, expected to see about a million nurses, teachers, police and others down tools, is set to start on May 28.

Cosatu regional organiser Mike Louw said yesterday that they took strong exception to Fraser-Moleketi’s threats regarding the impending strike and employees.

“Our view is that her attitude will exacerbate the situation. We will fight for the workers if they are dismissed because of the action.”

Louw said the public sector unions declared a labour dispute with the government after it refused to agree on a 12% wage increase, the filling of vacant posts and the improvement of working conditions.

The government is offering a 6% wage increase.

Louw said the public sector unions had met yesterday to plan a night vigil outside Parliament on Sunday as well as a march on May 25 in support of their demands.

“It will be a show of solidarity,” said Louw.

“We will be marching first to the provincial legislature to hand over a memorandum regarding the budget cuts and then to Parliament to hand over a memorandum regarding the wage disputes.”

Their members were expected to report to work and then leave at 10am on that day, to join the march.

National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) provincial secretary Suraya Jawoodeen said that, since Monday of this week, they had expected all public service workers to implement their work-to-rule call.

“This means we can only undertake work stipulated in our job descriptions.

“We will not do any work not in the job we are employed to do.

“This is not industrial action and is not illegal.

“It is a not a go-slow, which is industrial action.”

Jawoodeen said Fraser-Moleketi in all her public statements had deliberately conflated the two.

She said the employer – the government – must be forced to employ more people in the workplace in order not to compromise the quality of public service delivery.

Jawoodeen said they have asked various communities who continue to get poor quality service delivery to march with them to hand over a memorandum to Health MEC Pierre Uys regarding the R30 million budget cuts to Groote Schuur and Tygerberg hospitals.

She also said they intended to march to Parliament to defend their demands for a living wage increase of 12% in a single-term agreement and the filling of all posts.


~ by Matt Medved on May 16, 2007.

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