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Strike Looms For Underpaid African Workers
Published:
5/1/2013 12:26:19 PM


May Day rally
 

(GIN) – With U.S. fast food workers walking picket lines for better wages, in a parallel fashion militancy is growing among South African and other workers around the continent, frustrated by years of minimal benefits and low pay.

In South Africa, the teachers union Sadtu is threatening a full-blown strike and transport union Satawu kicked off the strike season with a bus drivers’ strike last week. An offer of a 5% raise was rejected as far below their demand of 13%. Wage talks in the mining, motor manufacturing, construction and chemical industries could make this a winter of discontent to remember, observed reporter Ranjeni Munusamy writing for the Daily Maverick.

Last year, wildcat strike action in the mining sector in 2012 took a deadly turn at the Lonmin platinum mine at Marikana. Security police with heavy weapons turned on the strikers, killing 34, and horrifying the nation. The ‘massacre’ is now the focus of a Commission of Inquiry which heard this week that senior police had no clear idea what was happening when the shooting started.

This year, the head of the ANC labor federation, Cosatu - S’dumo Dlamini - will address the main Workers Day rally in Galeshewe – the capital of the Northern Cape province, along with President Jacob Zuma and SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande.

In a statement prepared for May Day 2013, Cosatu declared: (Our) challenge is how to radically improve our role as the defender of workers’ rights in the workplace, while at the same time fighting for the broader transformation of the economy, creation of decent jobs and the elimination of poverty and inequality.”

Cosatu called the theme for this year’s May Day celebrations: A united working class for a radical economic transformation.

May Day rallies will also take place in Ghana whose theme is “Pension, It’s Your Right and Responsibility,” Nigeria with a rally lead by Pres. Goodluck Jonathan under the banner “100 Years of Nationhood, Challenges of National Development’’ and Uganda under the theme “Skilling Ugandans for lncreased Labor Productivity: A Shared responsibility.”

Known as International Workers’ Day (also as May Day), the holiday is widely celebrated, with as many as 80 countries honoring the date and what it stands for.

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