'Workers must think afresh'

WORKERS should spend May Day reflecting on their contributions to the economy as well as their commitment to economic growth, North West Premier Maureen Modiselle said at the weekend.

WORKERS should spend May Day reflecting on their contributions to the economy as well as their commitment to economic growth, North West Premier Maureen Modiselle said at the weekend.

"The meaning of this day to us as workers should be translated to support our need to grow this economy," she told workers at a May Day rally held at Letlhabile Stadium near Brits. "As we entrench the rights of workers to collectively bargain and co-determine their future, we should do so with a patriotism drive mindset. We need to start interrogating ourselves about what role we as workers are going to play to propel the economy."

Modiselle said that while the workers of South Africa were crucial in economic growth, the government and the corporate sector also had to contribute.

"In North West I have ordered an economic summit to deal with these matters, thus informing our readiness to contribute to both extra-parliamentary and government dialogues on economic growth."

She said the summit would address issues surrounding unemployment and job creation.

"The summit will talk about some of these matters and my government must then make the answers workable."

The National Education, Health & Allied Workers Union also joined in the celebrations, calling for an end to poverty and social inequalities.

They attributed the rise in unemployment to the privatisation of the public sector.

"The severe rise of unemployment is accompanied by the privatisation of public enterprises and cuts in social expenses," the union said.

"Workers are getting low wages and low pensions and there is a serious attack on labour rights and the emergence of part-time work and undeclared work."

The National Union of Mineworkers joined in the debate over workers' rights by calling on their members to present a united front against the "casualisation" of labour.

"While mine, energy and construction workers find themselves in casual labour and labour broking and earn a little, that little gets taken away by the excessive Eskom tariff hikes and cost of transport to and from work" said NUM general secretary Frans Baleni.

"This May Day must serve as a mobilisation day to intensify our struggle against the excessive tariff hikes and greed." -Sapa

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