The country’s second-largest trade union confederation, the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) is calling on every worker in the country to observe a stay away from work on February 24. This is the same day finance minister Tito Mboweni will give his budget speech.

In a statement, the trade union explained that the strike is largely brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated the wealth divide in the country. Millions of jobs have been destroyed and for many, poverty has become more severe.

“The battle against the pandemic did not unite South Africans, “all in this together”. It divided us further. In what is already the world’s most unequal country, rich capitalists have gotten richer, while the working class is now much poorer,” reads their statement.

While their strike is largely focused on a stay-at-home call, the trade federation also plans to protest across the country on the day. In Cape Town, protesters will gather outside the National Assembly.

The unions submitted a Section 77 (1) (d) notice to NEDLAC on their intention to strike, meaning all workers who wish to participate in the strike may do so without fear of victimisation or penalisation from their employers.

The federation has published an extensive list of demands, which include:

– Overhaul the Economy and build an egalitarian society with a minimum wage of R12 500 per month for all workers

– Improve living conditions and redistribute the land

– Save our planet and cut greenhouse gases with a genuine Just Transition

– Raise the social wage and provide public healthcare finance

– Free, decolonised and high-quality public education

– Stop corruption and crime

– A non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, socialist society

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Picture: Facebook / SAFTU

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