Thousands of public servants under three trade union federations, COSATU, FEDUSA and SAFTU, took to the streets and painted the cities in eight provinces red where memoranda of demands were handed over to various government offices over the unhappiness of workers with the 3% that the government has offered to workers.
The Western Cape day of action had to be postponed due to the ongoing SANTACO shut down in Cape Town, which affected the safety of workers. Workers in all provinces heeded the call by their federations and took to the streets. Many marches in provinces marched to the Premiers offices where memoranda of demands were submitted.
In Pretoria, where the national march was held, the federations were backed by thousands of public servants when they delivered memorandum of demands to the National Treasury offices, which were accepted by the Acting Minister of DPSA, Thulas Nxesi.
As Minister Nxesi made his way to the podium to accept the memorandum, walking through the throngs of unhappy workers, workers made the minister to feel their anger especially over the unilateral implementation of the 3% offer that majority unions at the PSCBC had rejected downright. The workers took exception to the concerted efforts by the government to undermine the collective bargaining, and warned the minister that the private sector is also copying this bad behaviour of disrespecting the collective bargaining agreements.
DENOSA President and Convener of COSATU JMC, Simon Hlungwani, said the workers give the Minister seven days to respond to the memorandum of demands. Failure to respond, added Hlungwani, the workers, with the certificate of non-resolution in hand, will make their intentions clear too. Hlungwani warned that this could lead to the closure of many government service centres across the country, including healthcare facilities as workers have made their unhappiness clear in many ways over the continued undermining by the government.
DENOSA General Secretary, Kwena Manamela, read out the list of demands to the minister. The demands by the workers, among others, are:
- 10% salary increase
- Removal of the silent moratorium on the hiring of staff in the public service.
- Filling of vacant positions in the public service.
- An end to government’s austerity measures as these counter-act the government’s own commitment to being a developmental state.
- Hiring of community healthcare workers, community service nurses and teachers as a matter of urgency.
Programme of action is not over.
The leaders urged the workers not to disengage the national programme of action in the form of lunch-hour pickets in the workplace until the positive response is received from the government.
NEHAWU Deputy General Secretary, December Mavuso, encouraged the workers to continue holding hands in the workplace and continue with the lunch-hour pickets.
“It is ion these pickets that, leaders will address you with further orders and instructions for the programme of action. Keep the struggle going,” he said.
If workers are not satisfied with the response from the government after seven days, it is expected that the next gear in the form of programme of action will be announced by the federations.