A CALL TO THE ENTIRE WORKING CLASS FOR SOLIDARITY ACTION IN SUPPORT OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR STRIKE
Workers International Vanguard League (WIVL) hereby calls on all parents, youth, students, workers, unemployed to support the public sector strike.
The strike is very important for the working class
The government is determined not to give a 12% increase as this means that there will be massive pressure on the entire capitalist class to also give similar increases. On the other hand, if workers accept anything less than 12%, then public sector wages will, in real terms, be less than last year. This means that with a 6 or 10% increase workers will still not be able to buy the same amount of food and services as they were able to last year. Public sector workers will have less to spend on their children and will have less to share with the unemployed. A low wage increase will mean that Telkom, Post Office, Eskom, municipal, metrorail as well as workers in all other sectors will face pressure from the bosses through low wage offers as well. In short, the entire working class will suffer if the public sector workers settle for a low wage.
The people of Khutsong have stood firm in their simple demand to government to listen to the voice of the community, the voice of the working class. The question that the people of Khutsong are asking is: WHICH CLASS IS REALLY GOVERNING? We call on all working class communities to stand firm, to say in one voice: NO TO POVERTY WAGES, YES TO 12% MINIMUM INCREASE!
Fundamental points about the strike
The government knows that there are many weaknesses in a public sector strike. The main weakness is that a strike in the public sector does not directly impact on the profits of the big capitalists. Many in the public sector are easily intimidated. The state is trying its best to divide and demoralise the public sector employees; they will try to put students and parents against teachers; they will try to put the community against the admin and health workers. The government claims that their offer is already 12% - this is playing with numbers and averages. The government offer on the basic wage is still 6% - a wage cut in real terms.
A Call to action
Many municipal water workers and other parastatal workers are prepared to go on a solidarity strike. We call on these workers and workers in the ‘private sector’ to compel the union leaders to call for broad solidarity strikes and other support action. Only if the capitalist class are hit in their pockets will the state be forced to meet the workers demands. At all schools we call for the setting up of joint parent- student and teacher committees that will run the schools during the strike. Teachers, parents and students leaders could volunteer to provide real, alternative political education to the students. Left unorganised, the state will try to seize the gap to close the schools.
Forward to mass, strike solidarity committees!
Forward to working class power!
Forward to Socialism!
‘Inflation’ is a weapon of the bosses to attack workers
The petrol price has sky-rocketed; food prices are up 15%. With workers spending at least half of their wages on food, this means that the 12% wage demand of the public sector workers must be regarded as an absolute minimum. The reality is that workers wages are going to drop this year; there will be greater starvation. The bosses justify their price increases: a) the cost of labour; b) too much lending, and c) imported inflation.
Cost of labour
Historically, workers demands have always come after rises in prices. This means that workers’ increases have never kept pace with increased prices but always lagged behind. The capitalists have always benefited from inflation. The cost of labour does not drive price increases.
Too much lending
Most of the working class do not have bank accounts; the few workers who have accounts would not be granted loans. Most of the loans are granted to the middle class, the capitalists and to some better-off workers. When the interest rate goes up as a result of ‘too much lending’ the capitalists pass the burden onto workers by retrenchments (to pay off their loans they cut down on the number of workers). The few workers who do have loans are forced to sell their houses or have their goods repossessed.
When there are price increases for imported goods like oil and machinery, then workers are forced to pay more. While 60% of oil is produced locally, everyone is forced to pay international prices, well above the local cost of production. This results in massive profits for the oil companies. The same principle applies to wheat, maize and other foodstuff, where the price is linked to the international dollar price but the local cost of production is much lower. When international prices fall below the local cost of production, the working class still has to pay high prices as the capitalists push up local prices to subsidise their exports. Either way, the capitalists gain and prices are manipulated to suit their interest and have nothing to do with ‘supply and demand’. The demand by the Cosatu leadership for devaluing the Rand, making imports more expensive, will cut the entire working class’ wages relative to international prices.
The IMF is behind the wage cuts in South Africa
The SA government is implementing the International Monetary Fund proposal of keeping wage increases within a 3-6% range. So loyal are they to the international capitalists that the SA government is prepared to face a strike of a million workers to boost imperialists’ profits. Workers need to ensure that their leadership do not settle below 12%, as a low increase will set a precedent for others. So confident of the capitalist role of the SA government are the IMF that they predict that wage increases will fall from 7.2% to 6.5% from 2005 to 2011.
That the IMF can talk about ‘growing support’ for inflation targeting means that there is increasing support among trade union leaders for official ‘inflation-related’ increases and multi-year agreements. This means that workers should keep an eye on the trade union leadership, and change them if necessary, should they become agents of inflation-related deals and/or multi-year agreements.
Forward to a Jobs for all at a living wage!
Now is the time build a revolutionary working class party!