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Media Centre | COSATU Press Statements
30 September 1998
The Congress of South African Trade Unions supports the struggles of its members who are currently involved in wage negotiations in particular SACCAWU and NUMSA.
As COSATU we find it hard to understand that Edgas cannot find the money to meet the workers'demands and yet it spends millions of rand on expensive adverts to defend their stand of refusing to address wage increases. We do not buy the argument that says managers' salaries were frozen as early as last year. The fact is, as part of their business plan they know very well that workers cannot continue to work for the same slavery salaries for the rest of their lives.
We disagree with the whole notion of saying that since Edgas could not make a 100% profit, therefore workers should suffer. It must be understood that there is a huge disparity between wages of managers and those of shopfloor workers. The fact that managers have agreed to the freezing of their salary increases is because they earn far better and can survive under the current economic conditions. COSATU believes that the funds wasted on expensive adverts to defend Edgas stand could have been better spent in making a serious attempt to find common ground.
The kinds of pre-conditions that the Edgas employers have set, before they could go to the negotiating table, are ridiculous. It is our view that the demands of workers are reasonable and are within the means of employers. COSATU reiterates SACCAWU's demands to the employers:
1. Across the board increase of R450.00 2. Minimum salary (entry point) R1800 3. Provident Fund-12%employer contribution 4. 13th Cheque 5. Staff discount 50% 6. Re-instate other agreements
COSATU extends a solidarity call to all its 2million members and communities who are for the advancement of worker rights to embark on a consumer boycott targeting all Edgas outlets such as Sales House, Cuthberts, ABC, and Jet Stores. We also extend a call to all workers to refuse to handle any good going to these outlets.
We also commend NUMSA members who despite the intransigence and arrogance of employers have held stead fast onto their strike. This is an indication of the determination by workers to end slavery wages on the shopfloor. We call on employers to change their stand and meet the worker's demands
Nowetu Mpati COSATU Head of Communications
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