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National strike announced by COSATU

COSATU has announced a one-day national strike for all employees on Friday, 7 October 2016.


NEDLAC has confirmed that COSATU has complied with section 77 of the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (Act No. 66 of 1995) (LRA) in serving the necessary notices on NEDLAC. The activities on 7 October 2016 will therefore constitute protected protest action and not be regarded as a strike.

Section 77 of the LRA provides for protest action to promote or defend socio-economic interests of workers.

The demands that COSATU wishes to promote are as follows:

  • Total banning of labour brokers;
  • Scrapping of the e-tolling system, including expensive toll gates;
  • Protection of jobs, also against retrenchment;
  • Implementation of the Legislated National Minimum Wage;
  • Defending and protecting Collective Bargaining Agreements;
  • Compliance with Occupation Health and Safety Standards in all workplaces;
  • Implementation of the NHI (National Health Insurance);
  • Scrapping of the Taxation Amendment Law (affecting workers’ pensions);
  • Free Education.

Any employee is entitled to participate in the protected protest action and may not be disciplined for being absent from work. Participating employees enjoy the same protection as in the case of a protected strike. However, the principle of no-work, no-pay will apply and employees are not entitled to any wage for that day.

No employee engaged in an essential service may participate in the protest action. Employees in a maintenance service may participate if permitted to do so in terms of the agreement regulating the maintenance service.

It is not yet clear whether any other non-COSATU unions will take part in the protest action. It is also not clear how widespread the protest action will be. Some of the COSATU regions have already indicated that they will support the project.