Workers marched through the Pretoria CBD most of the day to register their discontent with the current state of the economy, lack of an efficient public transport system and non-payment of public sector wage increases, among other issues.
Workers affiliated to different trade unions marched in Pretoria from Burgerspark to the Treasury in Pretoria on 7 October 2020. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN
PRETORIA – Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi has urged labour organisations to continue talking to government on issues raised by workers during the national strike on Wednesday.
He was addressing protestors outside the National Treasury in Pretoria where members of the country’s main four labour federations – the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), Federation of Unions of South Africa, National Council of Trade Unions and South African Federation of Trade Unions – gathered to hand over a memorandum of demands to government.
The workers marched through the Pretoria CBD most of the day to register their discontent with the current state of the economy, lack of an efficient public transport system and non-payment of public sector wage increases among other issues.
Speaking on behalf of the government, Nxesi said the Cabinet took workers’ issues seriously.
This after Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi said it had become apparent that the government of the day did not care about the interests of the poor and the working class.
The minister, however, said they respected workers, explaining that he had to leave a Cabinet lekgotla to accept their memorandum of demands which unions expect to have answers to in 14 days.
“We have looked into the issues in the memorandum because most of the issues were the public issues and I can tell you that when you’re talking about unemployment, corruption and collective bargaining, these are the issues where we are agreeing with the workers.”
Nxesi was accompanied by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula who told the striking workers that his department was dealing with the challenges presented by the unions on the abolishment of the e-tolls and the establishment of a reliable transport system.
However, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni didn’t address the workers.