The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) will be joining millions of workers across the globe in celebrating May Day as a significant international workers’ event, marking the historic demand for shorter workdays.
For us, May Day affirms the dignity of labourers and unites the people of the world in a common struggle against the exploitation of one by another.
Though we have seen through our democratic breakthrough the progressive labour legislations that had brought meaningful laws which protect workers, they have slowly been eroded over the 25 years by changes in policies which seek to promote business interests over those of workers, and some of these direct attacks on the public sector are recently expressing themselves through the recent announcement by the Minister of Finance’s plans to reduce the public wage bill, the privatisation of state entities which has already sparked retrenchments, and with job losses being some of the challenges the South African economy continuing to grapple with in this 25 years of freedom; all these while possible future job opportunities for the many unemployed youth look bleak.
It is in this sense that we rally, among others, behind the many demands against job losses and for decent work by our federation COSATU and the need to improve working conditions within the criminal justice cluster in fighting corruption and affording our citizens their well-deserved services in taking South Africa forward.
As we commemorate May Day and remember our predecessors’ relentless struggles for worker rights that were attained through their blood and sweat, we are resolute that workers are resolute and will refuse to sell out to those modern-day “worker-leaders” of no traceable origin who want to prey on workers’ temporary grievances spread misinformation and lies, and enemies are hidden under the same colour, who seek to divide our unions for their narrow personal gain through preaching rhetoric that is devoid of any historical backing and their political allies who are scrambling for votes in the coming elections.
We should never at this historic moment be destructed to flinch and lose sight of the road traversed, only for workers to be used for short-sighted narrow agendas of political parties whose policies aren’t even pro-working class.
As we head towards this symbolic day, let us re-energise ourselves for the battles ahead within bargaining councils for the full implementation of all signed and agreements and resolutions, let us fight off detractors and as we enter our 30th anniversary of relentless struggles for the civil rights of our members, let us focus on taking up struggles to improve working conditions within the criminal justice cluster beyond our 30 years of existence.
We call for harmony and unity amongst the workers and the working class of our country and the world over as a precondition with which dialogue can ultimately create common ground in directing our grievances to the real source of our miseries; the system of capitalism.
We also call for those using the name of the ANC in the North West Province in arranging alternative events on May Day to reconsider, as the latter event is, as has been tradition, meant for workers. This emerging trend is disturbing and has the potential to cause unnecessary rifts among alliance partners.
As we prepare to attend COSATU May Day rallies across our provinces, we do so being more determined that the agenda to divide workers is bound to collapse, and we are resolute in fighting relentlessly for workers’ demands within the criminal justice cluster and beyond.
We urge all our members to attend COSATU May Day rallies on the 1st of May 2019.
Issued by POPCRU on 29/04/2019