Cosatu gives final notice of strikes
By Reneé Grawitzky, Business Day
23 February 2000
THE Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) has issued a final notice to
government and business of its intention to embark on countrywide
strikes from next month in support of its campaign to halt job losses.
The notice was served ahead of the start of the strike by thousands of
truck drivers yesterday who were demanding that employers pay overtime
in accordance with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.
Negotiations between the Road Freight Employers' Association and the
six unions party to the council negotiations were expected to continue
late into the night in order to ensure a return to work.
The unions said 55000 truckers had heeded the strike call and that
some blockades had been reported.
Meanwhile, Cosatu informed the National Economic, Development and
Labour Council (Nedlac) that it was serving the required 14-days
notice of its intention to embark on protest action from March 6.
The federation plans to hold regional protests in eight provinces in
the build-up to a national strike on May 10.
A source close to the process said it was debatable whether Cosatu's
planned action could be challenged in the Labour Court as uncertainty
existed about whether the Nedlac process has been fully exhausted in
line with the Labour Relations Act. Cosatu believed that deadlock had
Business SA spokesman Vic van Vuuren expressed his disappointment that
the planned action was going ahead as he believed it would not serve
Many of the issues could be resolved in macro-level debates, "and
various processes were and are under way to achieve this", Van Vuuren
Cosatu's call for protests emanates from a notice served on Nedlac in
July in terms of section 77 of the act which gives workers the right
to embark on protest action, if certain procedures are followed.
Cosatu threatened action if a range of demands relating to job
creation and retrenchments were not met.
Cosatu's demands went beyond labour-related issues and challenged
government's monetary and industrial policies which they claimed
contributed to job losses.
It demanded a reduction in interest rates, a halt to government's plan
to speed up tariff reductions, amendments to the Labour Relations Act
and Insolvency Act and the status of the national framework agreement
on state asset restructuring.
A special Nedlac meeting was held on February 3 at which it emerged
that progress had been made on some issues but others remained