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Shopsteward Volume 27: Special Bulletin

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Media Centre  |  COSATU Press Statements

COSATU Western Cape Province media statement on the the rampant job losses and lack of employment

07 Dec 2005

The Congress of South African Trade Unions, along with a range of civil society organisations and the churches, have pledged their commitment to work together in the New Year to overcome the rampant job losses and lack of employment.

The continuing job losses in the clothing and other manufacturing sectors represent a deep and growing crisis, as the resultant poverty tears apart the fabric of our society. This is manifested in the many abhorrent crimes we see in our communities and the spiralling instances of drug and substance abuse.

The World Trade Organisation, and the trade rules that it is establishing, has seen rising gaps of inequality in the world and greater numbers of jobs being lost in developing countries. The ability of developing countries to put in place industry policies to protect their industries and help promote infant industries as they attempt to move up the value added chain is completely undermined by these policies.

We express our concern at the upcoming rounds of negotiations in Hong Kong, and question whether this is going to be the exploration of an agreement that promotes development as promised by the Doha round. The developed countries are still only using the W TO to defend and advance their national interests as demonstrated by the USA and EU in respect of agricultural subsidies.

The South African government is encouraged to work with other developing countries to ensure that the terms of trade are changed and that the discussions rather focus on what needs to be done to promote sustainable development in a rapidly globalising worl d.

The expanded coalition in the Western Cape that was launched in August 2005 pledges to expand their activities in 2006 to ensure that we can respond to the many challenges that confront our communities. The demands of our people as reflected in the various submissions that the variety of organisations have raised will be advanced in the New Year.

We pledge ourselves to work towards the following, in conjunction with government, but, if need be, in opposition to the government, to ensure:

  • That there are decent homes for all
  • That the land is shared by all
  • A People's Budget that spends money wisely
  • That there is quality public education for all
  • That there is decent work for all
  • That the wealth of our country is shared by all
  • An end to poverty through a basic income grant
  • Adequate public service delivery in transport, healthcare and safety.

We commit ourselves to put an end to:

  • The enrichment of a few black individuals
  • The growing levels of inequality
  • The dehumanisation of our people
  • Drug and substance abuse.

We further commit ourselves to a programme of action that will see the W Cape become a province that promotes the well-being of the majority and puts the interests of working families and the poor first. This programme will see mass action on the core dema nds that are raised above and the mobilisation of communities that are denied these basic rights through government structures not focusing on delivery.

We commit ourselves to ensure that the state takes responsibility for society as a whole and develops an integrated economic and social strategy for the province, in conjunction with social partners. To this end we undertake to develop detailed industrial development and social development programmes to promote and enhance our industries.

We will in 2006 be convening a conference of civil society that will take the ambitions of our people to new heights and invite all organisations to join and be part of this initiative to build popular power for transformation.

For questions call Tony Ehrenreich on 082 773 3194 or Brian Ashley on 083 236 4026