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Shopsteward Volume 27: Special Bulletin

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Media Centre  |  COSATU Press Statements

Buy Local - COSATU urges Shoppers this weekend


The Congress of South African Trade Unions is urging all its members and the wider community to join the Buy South African campaign on 6-7 December 2008, when workers and consumers will be picketing at shopping malls throughout the country to persuade shop pers to buy locally produced products. The malls so far identified are listed below and further details will follow.

The current global financial crisis has already resulted in a slowdown in the economy. Retrenchments have already begun, in the mines, the car industry and elsewhere. Many more employers in South Africa are threatening to lay off workers as a result of thi s downturn in the world economy, in which they are already finding it harder unable to sell their products in international markets because of this economic downturn.

As a result, workers are facing a black Christmas in 2008. Even the majority of employed workers will not have enough money during this festive season to spend with their families after months of hard toil in factories and other places of work. They will n ot have enough to pay for their children's education at the beginning of 2009. For the unemployed it will be a grim, miserable Christmas.

COSATU believes that one of the best ways to turn the tide, save and create jobs and reduce the cost of living is to buy local. This will help boost the domestic economy by increasing demand for locally produced goods and thus save and create jobs in the f irms that manufacture them. This will be helped by falling value of the rand which will make local goods cheaper than imports here, and more competitive overseas, which will enable SA firms to offset the worldwide decline in demand.

Both workers and consumers will benefit. More workers will be employed and prices will come down - but only if we succeed in persuading us, the consumers, to buy South African and support our local economy.

But we also demand that local firms seize the opportunity. They must not just raise their prices to the same level as imported goods so they can make a quick profit, while consumers still have to pay high prices. They need to take advantage of the falling rand to expand production and keep prices down. Since they will be more competitive on both the world and domestic markets, and should be able to expand production and employ more workers.