Sunday 20 November 2022: The South African Communist Party (SACP) stands in solidarity with public service and administration workers who will be engaging in a National Day of Action on Tuesday, 22 November 2022, over a bargaining dispute with the government under the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council.
The SACP has no interests separate and apart from the objective interests of the workers as a class. This is one of the reasons the SACP has for a while now been calling on the trade union movement to convene a joint consultative conference to discuss the conditions under which workers across the economy work and live, and to agree on a joint programme of action to turn the situation around. These conditions include restructuring measures that deepen economic exploitation and erode the hard-won gains of the workers in the economy, including through undermining collective bargaining, as well as the persistently high levels of mass unemployment, poverty, and inequality.
Therefore, SACP congratulates the public service and administration workers trade unions and their federations, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA), and the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU), for seeking a unifying perspective and engaging in unity in action, behind the common interests of the workers.
As the trade union federations said in their joint statement issued on Thursday, 17 November 2022, the government reneged from implementing wage increases in the third year of a three-year bargaining agreement it signed in 2018 with public service trade unions, negatively impacting the net pay of the workers. Meanwhile, the cost of living has been rising. The South African Reserve Bank increased interest rates. These two trends have an impact on workers, including public service and administration workers. This is the context in which the current dispute in the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council should be understood by every person.
The workers are right to seek an acceptable wage settlement that covers the losses they have experienced and responds to the rising cost of living.
The SACP reiterates its call for workers to, while deepening unity in collective bargaining processes and related strikes, look beyond the wage disputes and forge broader unity across trade unions and trade union federations to confront the system of capitalist exploitation and its neoliberal policy regime, not to mention austerity. To take this class unity forward, the SACP at its 15th National Congress held in mid-July resolved to build a powerful, socialist movement of the workers and poor. Organised workers, also organising the unorganised, have a crucial role to play in building this movement and taking forward the broader working-class struggle for emancipation.
ISSUED BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN COMMUNIST PARTY | SACP
EST. 1921 AS THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF SOUTH AFRICA | CPSA
Dr Alex Mohubetswane Mashilo,
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