8 March 2002

Peace between Cosatu and government?

The threatened strike against privatisation is not going to happen and the Congress of SA Trade Unions president said last week that trust between Cosatu and the African National Congress had been re-established following bilateral meetings earlier this year.

Removing the threat of the strike would give the ANC a chance to engage seriously with Cosatu's demands, he said. Differences between the union and the ANC would be discussed at the Alliance summit on April 3-7, Madisha said. Cosatu said it was also looking towards the government's planned 'growth summit' to highlight its concerns.

Top of the unions' agenda is unemployment. It has quoted a new Norwegian survey stating that unemployment is between 32% of the labour force, excluding those not actively seeking work, and 45% including all those without work. "Cosatu has been right to call this level of unemployment a national crisis", the federation said.

The survey was conducted by the Norwegian Institute for Applied Social Science and "flatly contradicts government ministers' claims that the country's economic fundamentals are 'sound'", Cosatu said. The report also confirms that South Africa is one of the most unequal societies on earth. (SouthScan)

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