NEHAWU supports COSATU national strike against job losses
7 February 2019
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] supports the upcoming COSATU led National strike on the 13th February 2019 against retrenchments and job losses in all sectors of the economy, creation of decent work and injection funds to the economy.
NEHAWU calls on all its members, workers and society at large to join the march as it seeks to avert the job blood bath currently taking place in both the private and public sector in the country. Currently, the real unemployment rate is 38%, with close to 10 million people struggling to get jobs. A concerted effort is required to gallantly fight against unemployment and job losses.
NEHAWU supports COSATU demands for redistribution of wealth, state intervention and a moratorium on all retrenchments. Job losses do not only affect the worker but many other family members who rely on him/her as a breadwinner for survival. Following the jobs summit held in October 2018 both business and government made commitments to look into other option when faced with having to lay off workers. However, this has not been the case as we have seen the rise in retrenchment and job losses.
Our members have been greatly affected by retrenchments at the Department of Water and Sanitation leading to more than thousand workers being laid off in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West due to the premature closure of projects because money to run them has been looted. Netcare and Mediclinic are also in the process of retrenching close to 500 workers. Private social welfare organisations are retrenching workers because they are not willing to pay the national minimum wage as set by government last year.
NEHAWU is gravely concerned by the possibility of Edcon, South Africa’s largest clothing retailer, closing down. It would see more than 40,000 retail workers losing their jobs and a further 100,000 indirect workers also being affected. These indirect workers are employed in clothing and textile factories across South Africa and in many other Edcon suppliers and service providers, such as security, transport, cleaning and warehousing. In this regard, NEHAWU will join hands with the SACTWU in fighting against any job losses.
NEHAWU understands that the UIF has approved an investment in Edcon and that the process is now being held up at the Public Investment Corporation [PIC]. This bureaucratic hold-up may be the direct cause of this very large employer collapsing. We call on the PIC to awake from its slumber and act with the utmost urgency to save these jobs. As NEHAWU, we are convinced that the PIC is quick to act when pockets stand be lined than when jobs are to be saved, it is not showing sufficient interest or urgency.
NEHAWU is opposed to the unbundling of Eskom and converting it into three companies. We believe that this will be a costly exercise because there will be three boards, three CEOs and three CFOs which are also going to add to the current problems faced by Eskom. They are still going to consume the same constrained public resources.
During the jobs summit in October 2018, the government committed to create 275,000 jobs annually, but there seems to be a serious contradiction here as more jobs are lost than created. The unbundling of Eskom will result in 92 000 Jobs being lost both in Eskom and Coal Mines. NEHAWU will fight side by side with the NUM against any job losses at ESKOM.
In the mining sector around 40 000 workers so far have lost their jobs through retrenchments. Mines are closing operations on a daily basis. Government must immediately intervene in the mining sector to save workers from greedy mine owners who always leave workers high and dry after using them to up their dividends while working in horrible and unsafe conditions.
Once more, we appeal to all workers to attend the strike in all nine provinces and report any employer who victimise workers who will participate as the strike is legally protected.
Issued by Khaya Xaba, Media Liaison, NEHAWU, 7 February 2019