strike thumb medium85 85BusinessLive reports that Cosatu intends to openly defy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ban on mass gatherings of more than 100 people, saying it will support a planned national strike by its public sector affiliate Nehawu over cuts to the public sector wage bill.  

The labour federation’s general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali, who attended a special executive council meeting of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) on Monday, said Cosatu would support the public sector union should it down tools and take to the street on 30 March.  Nedlac met to discuss the economic and labour impact of the coronavirus along with mitigation measures to avoid the spread of the virus.  Ntshalintshali said Nehawu, which is Cosatu’s largest affiliate, would have to plan the strike properly because “no person in their right mind” would want to fight for wages and in the process contract diseases.  “They will have to plan that properly, but whatever decision the public sector [union] takes, we will support them,” he indicated.  On Sunday, Nehawu said it was “crystal clear” that the government had no intention of honouring the last leg of the three-year wage agreement signed in the public sector co-ordinating bargaining council in 2018.  Nehawu general secretary Zola Saphetha said they wanted to send a clear message that “there will be no negotiations on the current agreement as it exists”.  In that agreement, workers would receive an increase of consumer price inflation (CPI) plus 1%, and notch increments of about 1%.

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