Treasury's new economic document rejected – SACTWU

Union says if proposals would mean the complete collapse of the collective bargaining in SA

SACTWU rejects Treasury's new economic document  

The COSATU-affiliated Southern African Clothing & Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) is alarmed at Treasury’s newly issued economic growth document proposals.

In the view of the SACTWU National Office Bearers, this document’s labour market and industrial policy proposals represent the most brutal attack on worker rights, since the advent of democracy.

Specifically, its call for some businesses to be automatically exempted from bargaining council substantive collective agreements is a direct attack to dismantle centralised bargaining, for which workers in this country have fought bitter battles. If these Treasury proposals become reality, it will simply mean the complete collapse of the collective bargaining architecture in South Africa. This in turn will unleash unprecedented chaos in thousands of workplaces, in both the public and private sector, the result of which will be devastating to our economy.

Treasury’s proposals regarding this matter is no  different to what the Free Market Foundation has demanded a few years ago, a demand which labour has back then decisively defeated in the boardroom, on the streets and in the Courts. We are disappointed that a government department of a democratic state, controlled by a political party which claims to support the interests of the poor and workers, can even contemplate rolling back our hard-won gains by resuscitating the already-defeated demands of the Free Market Foundation and other such reactionaries.

Furthermore, Treasury’s veiled  suggestion that some businesses must be automatically exempted from the National Minimum Wage (NMW) is a very serious slap in the face of social dialogue. Business, labour, community and government (including Treasury) have extensively engaged on and concluded the NMW at NEDLAC.

It is a badly cooked meal, and we refuse to let our members eat it.

The National Office Bearers of SACTWU have called a Special National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting for early next week, where we shall seek a proper final mandate on how to proceed regarding this matter.

We have registered our deep concerns about this matter with our federation, COSATU. We call on COSATU to be decisive in its rejection of this Treasury document, both in content and process.

Issued by, Andre Kriel, General Secretary, SACTWU, 29 August 2019