Today's Labour News

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cosatuMail & Guardian writes that the value-added tax (VAT) increase, public sector wage talks and the withdrawal of a motion to discuss the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank in Parliament has set Cosatu on a collision course with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government.  

The labour federation’s central executive committee recently resolved to go on strike if the government did not zero-rate VAT on all food items, water and electricity.  The decision to increase VAT by 1% was announced in the budget last month.  Ramaphosa’s newly appointed public service and administration minister, Ayanda Dlodlo, also faces a tense meeting with Cosatu this week, where public sector wage demands will now be higher because of the VAT increase.  Cosatu’s spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said last week:  “The honeymoon between Cosatu and Ramaphosa never got started.  We made it very clear as soon as Ramaphosa was elected [that] you don’t have a blank cheque and there is no honeymoon.”  Cosatu led Ramaphosa’s campaign to be elected president of the ANC.  In return, the federation expects Ramaphosa to be sympathetic to workers’ demands.  “He has to realise that, if he were to fail to provide political leadership in a fight between government and workers, the government will come [off] second best,” Pamla said.  He also said that Ramaphosa’s administration had revealed itself to be anti-poor in the budget.

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