The YPO youth advocacy forum joined the May Day march in Durban this year. Bukiwe Zondi, from the YPO, reports on the march. “We were invited by ALUTA of South African Students (ALUTA) to attend the workers day March in Durban. The march focussed on unemployment, poverty, labour brokers, slave wages, demanding for Free Education and quality health service. While the YPO interrogate questions and issues surrounding unemployment and different aspects of education this was an important place for listening and connecting.
ALUTA is concerned about the state of desperation and hopelessness of the Black working class because of the country's economic policies which are pro-rich and anti-poor as we have more than 26 million people who sleep on empty stomachs every day. They are saying it is time to fight back and they cannot sit and relax while our future is being killed right in front our very own eyes we must stand together and fight this onslaught. Implement the FREEDOM CHARTER NOW!!!”
The march organised by NUMSA had quite a good turnout in terms of attendance and was peaceful even though they expected otherwise since COSATU was also having a march that same day. The speakers (especially uVavi) were very precise on their intensions to help the workers in making sure they have adequate and incomes which will also help build our economy. They emphasised making sure that the economy is for all and not just the employers. Mr Vavi is also set on banning labour brokers and permanent casuals in certain companies, saying this is absolutely not acceptable and is an exploitation of workers. He also assured us that he will be speaking to Eskom on regards to ridiculously high electricity rates as this is another factor that hits the working class because the money they work hard for goes back into the state and parastatals leaving workers and their households in a worse off state.
We agree with his logic on workers getting adequate income to live, because currently and more personally it is tough to have a casual job, pay bills, send children to school and contribute to household expenses such as food as a young person. What we found that he failed to mention was what their true concern about unemployment is and how they are going to assist the unemployed in their plight. Also, how they are going to create work since for me the high rate of unemployment is also another factor that hinders our economy to grow. However, also looking at employment and/or unemployment in terms of only national economic growth is dangerous and needs to be rethought. We need forms of income to be able to live and enjoy life, be creative and uplift each other in many different forms. The way we talk about work and the reasons for work needs to change! Most of the speeches were directed to helping those already with a monthly income to become better placed in their earnings. I believe this is important but also have to ask with employment becoming more scarce workers will soon be in the minority and then what is the future of the trade unions?
All in all is was a captivating day and was informative and also extended to include the fight against xenophobia! Bukiwe Zondi