Black Sash Media Statement on the National Strike
For immediate release: Tuesday, 6 March 2012
As workers prepare to strike across the country tomorrow, the Black Sash would like to add its voice to all those who are deeply concerned about any erosion of the livelihoods of the poor and vulnerable at this time.
We realise that when workers lose their jobs, their households face painful adjustments. This is especially true for workers in vulnerable sectors who are less likely to qualify for UIF as they are often part-time workers or have been employed for less than the minimum four years. Added to this, employers in some industries where labour brokers are active often contravene our Labour Laws by not registering eligible workers, and therefore leaving them without a safety net when their employment comes to an end.
The Black Sash also believes that because of the high rate of chronic unemployment and the prevalence of informal jobs and irregular income in South Africa, the collection of toll fees from low and middle income earners will be difficult to sustain. It is not just a question of affordability but rather of the temporary nature of the income received by those in the informal economy. The pressure to make regular payments such as toll fees when household and individual earnings are so irregular will compromise the sustainable livelihoods of vendors and other workers in the informal sector who use their own cars to transport the goods they sell or the services they offer.
The combination of the proposed toll fees and spiraling increase in the price of food, fuel, electricity, transport costs and high interest rates heighten the anxiety of many people who are struggling to survive.
During this national mass action, the Black Sash also calls on government to announce an implementation date of the long awaited Competition Amendment Act that was passed by Parliament more than three years ago. We view the delay as a major setback in the fight against corruption. The Act seeks to make it a criminal offence for a company, its directors and managers to be involved in, or knowingly consent to, any form of collusive behavior. Under the Act, directors and managers found guilty could spend up to 10 years in prison or be fined up to R500 000.
The Black Sash also calls for public support for our class action case to seek compensation from the major bread producers found guilty of fixing the price of bread. Their collusive activities robbed millions of poor and vulnerable families on a daily basis and over many years. By doing so, they undermined our society's attempts to realise the Constitutional right to food and adequate nourishment, especially for children.
For interview requests, please contact:
Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager
Cell: 082-429 4719
For more information, please contact:
Black Sash Media Officer
Cell: 073-150 9525
MAKING HUMAN RIGHTS REALS!