SAFTU MEDIA STATEMENT IN RELATIONS TO ITS NATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND IMMEDIATE CHALLENGES FACED BY WORKERS DURING THIS LOCKDOWN PERIOD
The South African Federation of Trade Unions has noted and pleased that Cde Zwelinzima Vavi – The General Secretary of SAFTU, has been discharged following his admission for observation on Saturday, and he has now join his family while practicing self-quarantine and as the organization we wish him full recovery.
The Federation further wish to inform both the public and members that to this end none of its NOBs, NEC, Political & Ideological Commission members has been reported to be infected or came into contact with COVID19, including those who are stationed at its Head Office.
We again, continue to call on all our Affiliated Members, workers at large and the entirety of our society to observe and abide by the restrictions and preventative measures imposed by Government and Minister of Health-Dr Zweli Mkhize to curb the spread of this virus.
The federation has also noted with disgust the utter and arrogant attitude displayed by some private sector employers, who are obviously violating and breaching the lock down regulations and are now on a free – mode of violating Workers Rights. These employers are simply forcing themselves into “essential service” definition, forcing workers to sign off their annual leaves, in some instances forcing workers to sign off loans during the lockdown.
We call on the Department of Employment and Labour to make sure that their inspectors raid those workplaces and conduct inspections. Where violation is detected heavy compliance fines must be imposed. We make a further call on the Department of Transport to engage and enter in an arrangement with the public services providers, who should at the appropriate cost not to be incurred by workers to provide them with transport from home to work and vice versa.
What is more concerning and worse is the outcry at the state institutions by its employees/workers who are at the forefront of fighting this COVID-19 in various hospitals, other health care facilities and service points, who are still demanding that the state provide them with adequate and full PPE – Personal Protective Equipment to ensure that they are free from unsafe and hazardous conditions
In fact as SAFTU, we now firmly demand that over and above the necessary PPE, the state should take-over close-by guest houses, B&Bs and hotels, for purposes of accommodating these workers instead of allowing them to commute to and from home and mingling with their family members, close relative and other workers equally working and now termed essential services. We are also mindful of the fact that this is the due month for the public servants to receive their annual increment and we expect the government to do right by these workers or else.
FINALY, we still harbor a strong view with conviction that the effects and impact of the COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown will have extremely devastating effect on the working class. To this end we call on government to take extraordinary measures to safeguard and protect the majority and most vulnerable in our society, to ensure their sustained living standards but now with improvements. These to us are basic measures towards sustainability and mitigate the effect of this lockdown and its impact.