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FAWU Bulletin, 27 February 2009 - Food and Allied Workers Union

FAWU Bulletin, 27 February 2009 - Food and Allied Workers Union

It was agreed that we

It was agreed that we must prepare for solidarity action, and convene a Living Wage Committee. Affiliates must submit timetable of bargaining so that we prepare for more effective solidarity within the Federation. Affiliates who have not submitted their 2008 agreements should do so. Labour brokers The meeting reaffirmed the federation’s opposition to labour broking, which is a multi-billion industry, which covers manufacturing, wholesale and retail, transport, construction, local government, health-care, banking, information technology, cultural and entertainment industry and communication sectors of our economy. The services sector alone has more than 3000 private employment agencies and more than 55% (408 616 of 902 350) of the daily average temporary staff assigned. According to research work done by NALEDI, workers not only face precarious working conditions but there are also early signs of the emergence of sweetheart unionism in the industry. Little has been done to stem the tide of labour broking, but workers’ resolve to deal with the monster has been bolstered by the ANC’s election manifesto’s commitment to decisively deal with labour broking and the Minister of Labour’s public agitation against the phenomenon. It was agreed to demand that the labour law review process puts the matter high on the agenda. COSATU will have a meeting early in March 2009 to ensure that the issue is on NEDLAC Labour Market Chamber agenda. But the process may take a long time because of the scope of this approach. Accordingly, we propose that while the labour law review process takes its course, we check with our lawyers the prospects of challenging labour broking provisions in court under the LRA and to see if there might be lessons from the Namibian court case on labour broking Section 77 Notice on food and electricity prices On food prices, the CEC noted some significant successes. There has been an agreement on the following issues: 1. Social assistance, including extension of school nutrition programme to high schools; 2. Dedicated food market enquiry 3. Price monitoring committee 4. Investment in agriculture, including reinvestment of additional VAT collected as a result of high food prices into agriculture The ’Framework for South Africa’s response to the international economic crisis’ also proposes important measures to protect the poorest consumers. We salute the COSATU members and the millions of other workers and communities who participated in the COSATU led programme of mass mobilisation to protest against high food prices. This is a victory to members, 8

which must be acknowledged by our society and be celebrated by workers who delivered it. Fishery strike solidarity The CEC declared its support for striking FAWU members in the fishing industry who have been on strike for six months, in protest against a commission-only system of payment. It was agreed to approach the Minister of Labour to follow up on his suggestion that the sector should be covered by a Sectoral Determination, and to check whether decent working conditions can be made a condition of granting fishing companies their quotas. May Da y Rallies COSATU noted that this year’s May Day celebrations would take place immediately after the 22 April 2009 elections, which we see as being about the defence of our gains and revolution and in the context of job loss bloodbath as a result of the international economic crises. The theme of this May Day celebrations shall therefore be: Consolidating working class power in defence of our revolutionary movement for decent work! KZN elections must be peaceful The Central Executive Committee of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, during its scheduled meeting which began today in Johannesburg, resolved to issue an urgent appeal for calm and peace in the Province of KwaZulu Natal, where the election campaign has already been marred by serious threats, violence and murder. It is crucial that we unite as a nation to prevent a return to the horrific political violence of the late 1980s and early 1990s, when hundreds died in politically motivated murders. It is essential to guarantee voters’ constitutional right to attend election rallies and to vote in complete safety and security. COSATU calls upon all political parties, the IEC and the SAPS to do everything possible to ensure that the campaign and the elections are free of any violence or intimidation. [Released by COSATU] end 9

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