Mashaba concerned national shutdown could lead to more job losses

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba. File photo.
ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba. File photo.
Image: Eugene Coetzee

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba has expressed concern about the national shutdown planned by trade unions, saying it could lead to more job losses.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu), the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) and the General Industries Workers' Union of SA (Giwusa) will on Wednesday down tools in protest at the rising cost of living, fuel costs and load-shedding.

They will be joined by other trade unions as they march to the Union Buildings.

Mashaba said the shutdown will do more harm than good to an already ailing economy.

“I am beyond words to understand how Cosatu and Saftu believe shutting down the economy, which they themselves have deliberately destroyed over the 28 years, will improve the economy. Hence no trade union will ever have a veto right on ActionSA economic policies,” said Mashaba.

He stressed that the country was facing unemployment, with the biggest casualties being the youth.

“SA currently sits at 13-million unemployed, biggest casualties being the youth. Cosatu and Saftu should be engaging their government (the elephant in the room) to reflect on the real causes of this catastrophic situation.”

He said union bosses should also forfeit their salaries on protest days.

“We encourage the labour force not to be manipulated into participating in mass protest action for no pay if union bosses are not prepared to also forfeit their salaries on protest days.

“While we appreciate the precipitous rise in the cost of living and the unacceptably high rates of unemployment, the economy cannot afford a mass shutdown. As our country emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic which pushed SA ever closer to the precipice of recession, our economy simply cannot withstand such action,” said Mashaba.

He said the mass protest has nothing to do with the workforce and everything to do with demonstrating the unions' power before the ANC’s elective conference in December.

“It is as disappointing as it is unsurprising that this self-interested political ploy comes at the expense of nearly a million workers,” he said.

Mashaba's comments sparked debate. While some said they would be taking to the streets, many slammed the unions and claimed their leadership is out of touch.