AN URGENT MESSAGE TO ALL DEMAWUSA COMRADES: SAFTU GENERAL STRIKE AND STAYAWAY 24 FEBRUARY

Covid 19 Exposes Fault-Lines in Our Society.


Issues By DEMAWUSA, Stephen Faulkner (ACTING GS): 0828175455. 18 February 2021

Posted By: Admin | Post Date: 19 February 2020

Comrades there can be no doubt. We are facing one of the most difficult situations we have experienced as workers in our country. The economy is undergoing a deep and worsening recession. Millions of workers are unemployed, the jobs of many more are on the line. Many others are working for pay that they simply cannot survive on. Levels of inequality and abject poverty are increasing. The social ills associated with deprivation and hopelessness, including violence against women, racism and xenophobia, alcohol and substance abuse, and crime are rocketing……..and to make these matters worse, we are being attacked by a ruthless pandemic. The Covid19 pandemic has laid bare the fault-lines (the cracks) of our society.

Meanwhile, private pharmaceutical companies, medical suppliers, private health-care schemes and those with money are enjoying profits beyond their wildest dreams! The rich are getting richer! Not only has Government failed to meet the social needs of the majority of the population, but it has proven itself incapable of managing the Covid19 crisis and has put millions of our people at risk. Even worse, they are using the pandemic to push through massive retrenchments, and the slashing of services, and developing plans for massive privatisation and outsourcing when the pandemic is finally under control.

Even in the middle of a killer virus, there are those who shamelessly abuse tender opportunities for corrupt purposes, blatantly stealing monies that are supposed to pay for PPE, vaccines, UIF payments, research, public education, and expanding emergency health facilities for the poor.

Municipal Workers On the Front Line

Municipal workers are on the front line. Our members in local government services have been attempting to serve communities at great personal risk. They have struggled to obtain appropriate PPE, they have fought against the dangerous cost-cutting of Municipal managers, and as a result they have been subject to intimidation and victimization despite the vital role they play. They have acted like heroes, but have been treated like criminals! That’s why we say loud and clear….Enough is enough!

Evidence is emerging that Government plans to radically restructure local government, involving merging municipalities, the splitting and closing of services, and what they call ‘rationalization’. What this means is that under the cover of the pandemic, they are planning to push through retrenchments, cuts in services, and to offer private providers free rein to pillage and privatize our services. This is the old old story. In times of crisis, workers and the poor are being forced to pay for maintaining the wealth and power of the rich. That’s why we have to mobilise now!

The National Fight-back Starts Now!

On 24th February DEMAWUSA and all affiliates of our militant federation, SAFTU, are combining to hold a General Strike. A Section 77 notice has been secured via NEDLAC, and so no municipal worker can be victimized for taking part. We call upon all municipal workers to actively participate. SAFTU has acknowledged that we must be very sensitive to the need to maintain health and safety and social distancing. For this reason, in every province on the 24 February there will be socially distanced protest actions, stay-a-ways, motorcades, media interventions and stoppages. We urge all of our members and supporters to immediately contact your DEMAWUSA Provincial Secretary, and link into the actions that are being planned.

The demands that our Federation is raising are covered in the attached circular, and we hope comrades will study them carefully. Our demands are clear, but we do need to raise demands that relate to what our members are experiencing in local government. The General Strike is an opportunity to put our demands and our concerns into the public domain. Let’s do that comrades!

Don’t Wait for Someone Else: Make Contact, Get Organised, Join the Action!

This is a golden opportunity to build the profile of our Union and SAFTU. Below is an action checklist that we hope encourages all of our comrades to follow the advice of the late great Bob Marley.

Get up, stand up (Stand up for your life) stand up for your rights Get up, stand up (Stand up for your life) don't give up the fight…

Checklist For Action

  1. Please circulate this message to all members and urge their involvement.
  2. Urgently contact your Provincial Office and SAFTU and get involved in the Programme they have developed for the February 24th General Strike.
  3. Be bold and think about holding a workplace meeting on the question of the stayaway.
  4. Distribute the SAFTU leaflet in your workplace and community.
  5. Use the General Strike to build linkages with our allies in other unions and communities!
  6. Check the new DEMAWUSA website.