A big crisis in the Federation of Trade Unions in South Africa
The Federation of South African Trade Unions announced after the meeting and made several important decisions, as it announced a nationwide strike next week in response to a number of economic problems facing the country.
SAFTO is the second largest trade union federation in South Africa, with 21 trade unions affiliated with 800,000 workers.
The president of the trade union has stated that he has given notice to Nedlac to start a strike on February 24, 2021 - the same day that Finance Minister Tito Mboyne delivered the budget speech.
She said in a media briefing on Tuesday that most of the strike will focus on collective removal of workers.
The trade union said it also plans to hold protest marches in major cities across the country on the same day, including at the National Assembly headquarters in Cape Town.
"Even before Covid-19 we faced an economic pandemic, with high unemployment, extreme poverty and extreme inequality," she said.
Capitalism in South Africa regained its high profit rate through the ANC's policies of austerity, privatization, comfortable exchange controls, export-led growth at any cost and environmental destruction. Meanwhile, the regime was unable to meet even the most basic needs of its people. "
The trade union has published dozens of grievances focused primarily on a few key points:
Building a new economy - including a minimum wage of 12,500 rand per month for all workers and stopping all job losses;
Improving living conditions and redistributing land;
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
Raising social wages and providing public health care financing;
Free, decolonized, high-quality public education;
Put an end to corruption and crime.
A non-racial, non-sexual, democratic, socialist society.
This will be the first major national strike by unions since the country has relaxed rules for the third level lockdown for Covid-19.
Analysts cautioned, however, that measures are likely to become more frequent in 2021 in response to government wage negotiations and upcoming elections.
In a research note in January, BNP Paribas said the government public sector wage deal was likely to remain a major point of contention in 2021 and could lead to a further strike.
"We see a good chance for a large-scale strike in early February that may have eased due to Covid-19 restrictions and the current high levels of unemployment," she said.
The deal could also affect the tripartite alliance between the ANC, Cosato, and the Communist Party of South Africa.
BNP Paribas said the Cosatu trade association has lost a large number of members in recent years yet said a wage deal was likely to dominate the agenda.