ARTICLES IN 2006




Support the cleaning and Shoprite strikes!

Workers International Vanguard League calls on all contract cleaning and Shoprite workers to join and strengthen the current national wage strikes. All unions in these sectors should be pressurised to join the strike; even if you are not a union member you can still join the strike.

Why you should join the strike:
Contract and casual work has been created as a strategy by the bosses to make more profits. The bosses in the contract cleaning sector do nothing except sell your labour. They are parasites and pay themselves huge salaries. Why can’t this money go to workers wages? Most of the 60 000 Shoprite workforce are casuals. The low wages are to increase profits- the CEO of Shoprite, Basson, gets paid in dollar-linked package- the annual package of R59 million; Shoprite has opened shop in 17 countries through the profits they get from exploiting workers. The company makes millions in profits; they can afford a living wage. The stronger the strikes, the quicker the bosses will be forced to meet the workers demands.

We call on the entire working class and allies to give support to the strikes:
The rampant super-exploitation in these sectors reflect the crisis of capitalism and its inability to meet the basic needs of the majority. The massive income gap at Shoprite and in the cleaning companies are of the contributors to making South Africa the exploitation capital of the world [the Gini co-efficient, a measure of income inequality, is of the highest]. The lower the contract/casual wages, the more likely the bosses are to retrench other workers.

Outsourcing by the capitalists divides workers to increase exploitation. In all cases where workers have been outsourced, working conditions have deteriorated; workers have been largely stripped of pension and other benefits won through long years of struggle. These are the concrete, violent, yet unreported, conditions that these workers suffer.

The SA government long ago promised an investigation into the effects of outsourcing. The workers are waiting while top ANC members open up contract companies that ride the outsourcing bandwagon. The demands of the working class are put on hold while the ruling party tops enjoy conspicuous consumption. Where is the SACP today?

Workers should set up and strengthen broad, strike committees, holding your leadership accountable. Exercise your right to instant recall of leadership if you have to. Take control of your strike. Guard against the targeting of hawkers- they are also battling to survive- watch out for those who want to discredit the strike by targeting hawkers. We must remain focused on the bosses and the state who is acting on their behalf.

We call on Cosatu to action its slogan "AN INJURY TO ONE IS AN INJURY TO ALL"; we call on Nactu and independent unions to also embark on solidarity actions. We call for the setting up of strike support committees across the country to strengthen the strikes for the workers legitimate demands, on wages and conditions of employment. We call for workers to demand that all cleaning workers be taken on as permanent at the companies they service, with full benefits. Down with casualization at Shoprite and other companies! Down with scabs! Release the arrested strikers now! Implement workers sanctions against Shoprite, blocking all deliveries! Boycott Shoprite! Forward to Workers’ Power!

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