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Workers take to streets

The Commercial Stevedoring Agricultural & Allied Workers Union (CSAAWU) took to the streets of Robertson to get their message of inequality across.

The union operates in the Langeberg, Breede River, Metro, Theewaterskloof, Swartland, Kannaland, Overberg and Witzenberg area, including Hermanus.

“We have been a trade union for 14 years focusing on building the voice of workers and communities,” Deputy General Secretary, Deneco Dube said. “We are a socialist trade union movement.

The former Langeberg farmworker, who won an unfair dismissal case in 2013, after a farmworkers’ protest, said: “Our federation, Saftu [South African Federation of Trade Unions] supported the call by Cosatu for a Section 77 strike against the government and the Minister of Transport.

“We also protested against the job losses in our country, the corruption of labour brokers and continued victimisation of women in the workplace.”

The workers are also demanding land for food production and proper housing for people illegally evicted from farms without alternative accommodation.

“We want government to reduce the loading capacity of taxis and subsidise the industry so we can be safe during the pandemic,” Dube said.

“We also want an end to labour brokers, the victimisation of women and low wages in the workplaces. We want corruption among state officials, from the top down to local municipalities, to stop.

“We want a transparent, corrupt-free country where all people live in dignity and harmony. We further want government to reinstate the 2,2 million workers who lost their jobs between March and June this year. We want the employers who abused the TERS funds to be jailed with the officials who are corrupt,” he explained.

Hundreds took to the streets to express their concerns in Robertson.

Dube said the socialist-oriented CSAAWU wants to restore the dignity of its people by fighting for decent wages, a safe working environment and equality among all races in the workplace.

“We want the workers and communities to live in a dignified environment where they will be proud to live. Currently they are suffering and cant merely survive with they wages.

“The electricity has gone up, as is the food, but the wages remain the same. Our demands are very clear.”

“We want the houses lived in by farmworkers to be owned by them. We want a living wage of R12 500 per month. We want the total ban on Labour brokers. We want all woman to become permanent on farms and other workplaces where they are exploited.

“We want land for food production. We want a safe and decent creche facilities for all children on farms. We want the total realisation of freedom of association in all workplaces. We want a moratorium on all evictions from farms. We want a bargaining council for the agricultural industry.”

Dube said Wednesday was just the start of a long journey of calling on all communities and workers to come out and support the cause of struggle against corruption, retrenchments and evictions.

CSAAWU is very clear it wants a racist-free world in which all people will live equally and in peace.

“What we are currently experiencing is a war against workers as well as poor communities in our society,” Dube told Gazette.

“Capitalism is the cause of all the misery our society is facing. We want a world of socialism where we will be equal among each other.”

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