Sunday, May 01, 2016

COSATU May Day Rally, Nzimande Calls on Workers to Vote for ANC
Sunday 1 May 2016 - 10:04am

Cosatu will be hosting its main May Day rally at the Moretele Park, Mamelodi in Pretoria on Sunday. The theme for the rally is ‘Celebraing 30 years and defending collective bargaining, workers jobs and rights’. SACP General Secretar Video: eNCA

PRETORIA - Cosatu says it will host a number of rallies around the country to reach workers in all corners on May Day.

The union's national event will be held in Mamelodi, Pretoria where President Jacob Zuma will deliver the key note address.

The theme is celebrating 30 years of defending workers' rights and jobs.

Cosatu says it will use the rally to launch a ‘Jobs Campaign’ that will unite workers across all sectors of the economy.

This is what transpired at the rally so far:

SACP General Secretary Blade Nzimande has called on the working class to vote for the ANC in the local government elections.

"As we express solidarity today (Sunda) with workers of the world and the workers of our country at the same time we are calling on the working class to come out in their numbers on the 3rd of August and vote for the African National Congress," said SACP General Secretary Blade Nzimande.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa who broke away from Cosatu was holding its rally at the  Mehlareng Stadium in Tembisa.

The international holiday is observed in many other countries as well, multiple protests across the world against unfriendly labour reforms have been scheduled at a time of economic difficulties.

In France, workers’ unions and student organisations have planned further protests on Sunday to mark the May Day labour holiday following a violent demonstration on Thursday to block a labour reform.

Police arrested 27 people, placing 24 of them in custody, after hooded youth refused to leave the Republic Square in Paris and threw projectiles at police officers.

In the early hours of Friday morning, people set two cars on fire and destroyed shopfronts, to which police responded with tear gas.

The clashes marked the latest flare-up on the sidelines of the largely peaceful “Up All Night” gathering that began on March 31 as a protest against the proposed labour code reform and have since grown to encompass a range of grievances.

In South Korea, tens of thousands of unionised workers will hold rallies across the country against labour reform plans that will make it easier to lay off employees.

On Sunday, 50,000 members of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) will stage protests in 15 cities to urge the government to nullify the agreement made in September between management and labour representatives, according to a report by the Yonhap News Agency.

The rallies will likely paralyse traffic in Seoul and other major cities, said the report. Some 1,000 officers will be mobilised to handle foreseeable traffic congestion.

A public sector reform plan which could lead to layoffs and an increase in the retirement age also brought about 1,000 workers to the streets in central Kiev Thursday.

“There are young people who now work for a small salary, hoping that they will retire at the age of 45 to 55 years, depending on the profession, but it would not happen if the labour code is approved,” said Mykhailo Volynets, head of the Confederation of Free Trade Unions.

The protest, organised by the Confederation, was joined by workers from such sectors as transport, mining, medicine and education, as well as students.

According to its organisers, the demonstration was dedicated to the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, observed internationally on April 28, and the International Labour Day which is celebrated on May 1.

Turkey is on particularly high alert for Labour Day, an occasion traditionally marked by rising tensions in the country, following a series of deadly attacks this year blamed on jihadists and Kurdish militants.

A total of 24,500 members of the Turkish security forces would be on duty in Istanbul to ensure the security of citizens on the day, the government said in a statement Saturday.

On May 1 last year, police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse May Day protesters in Istanbul as demonstrations turned violent. - Additional reporting: African News Agency.

- eNCA

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