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Workers still battling poverty and inequality, says Amcu on Workers' Day as it reflects on Marikana massacre

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa calls for the government to move Workers' Day from May 1 to August 16 to reflect the unique South African working-class context.
Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa calls for the government to move Workers' Day from May 1 to August 16 to reflect the unique South African working-class context.
Image: Puxley Makgatho

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has called for a reset of politics and the economy to create and protect employment as the country celebrates Workers’ Day.  

The union's president Joseph Mathunjwa said Workers’ Day in South Africa has been overtaken by events such as the Marikana massacre, which have become a tipping point in the broader nexus of working-class struggles.  

“A democratic state, elected by the people, turned its guns on the people to protect foreign direct investments. These workers were fighting for a living wage and the end to legacy apartheid slave wages. 

“Their fight was against poverty and inequality in the workplace, which still bedevils broader South African demographics and society at large,” said Mathunjwa in a statement. 

He said the massacre reflected current struggles for workers who faced difficult working conditions with less bargaining power as the state and capital continued “to tighten screws on employment and slave wages”. 

Amcu also called for Workers' Day to be moved from May 1 to August 16 to reflect the unique South African working-class context.  

“As we commemorate this Workers’ Day we reflect on the labour market landscape and the challenges compounding trade unions and workers alike. There is very little to celebrate as workers continue to lose their jobs through massive retrenchments,” he said.  

Job security, he said, was threatened by the fourth Industrial Revolution which sought to champion profiteering at the expense of employment creation.  

Amcu demanded a review of the Labour Relations Act for the protection of workers that encompasses changes brought about by the pandemic.  

With more and more workers working from home, the legislative framework needs to change to deal with hours of work, time and attendance, discipline and occupational injuries and diseases among other things, it said.  

“What is there to celebrate for the workers of South Africa when the Lily Mine workers are still languishing in the belly of the earth? The South African government continues to support international disaster missions, with the latest Turkey earthquake disaster a case in point,” it added.  

TimesLIVE



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