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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

APF on Cosatu Strike

Anti-Privitisation Forum Press Statement
Wednesday 6th June 2007

The APF fully supports the ongoing strike by Public Sector workers and their Trade Unions

The Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF) fully supports the public sectors workers and their trade unions in the struggle for a decent wage increase and other benefits. The workers are completely legitimate and reasonable to demand, amongst others, a 12% wage increase. Over the past years the ANC government has restructured the public service, run down many departments, left massive job vacancies and kept down the wages and conditions of public sector workers.

In 2004, the government unilaterally imposed their wage increase onto the public sector workers and unions. These anti-worker actions are in line with the government's conservative macro-economic policy, GEAR, and its off-spring, ASGISA. It is the explicit and stated aim of GEAR that the public service must be trimmed down and become “lean and mean”. The arrogant posture adopted by the Minister of Public Services and her team in this year’s wage negotiations, and in response to the strike, is the direct, concrete expression of being “lean and mean”.

We are witnessing the government resorting to old-style apartheid measures in response to the legitimate demands of workers. The government has arbitrarily, and through the use of the labour court, denied sections of the public service their constitutional right to strike. By calling in the South African Defence Force to take the place of striking workers, the government has shown that it has no problem engaging in the act of scabbing. All of this smacks of the tactics used under the PW Botha regime. Furthermore, the indiscriminate shooting and arrest of striking workers by the police shows that the government wants to break the back of the resistance now being shown by the striking public sector workers.

The APF calls on the government to accede to the demands of the public sector workers and immediately put a stop to its arrogant, repressive and hostile actions. As part of the ‘army of the unemployed’, the APF also calls on our communities to support the strike and to tolerate the temporary disruption in schooling and delivery of services – and for the striking unions to make common cause with those millions who have no jobs and who live in grinding poverty. It is the ANC government that is failing all South Africans, particularly the workers and poor of our country. Let us not fall into the capitalist trap of blaming the workers and poor for responding actively to their own oppression.

VIVA THE PUBLIC SECTOR WORKERS STRIKE VIVA!

For further comment/information contact: Silumko on 072 173-7268/ 011 339-4121

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