Friday, February 03, 2017

The Petrol Hike Will Hit the Poor Hard and Complicate Wage Negotiations in South Africa
The Congress of South African Trade Unions is deeply concerned at the likely consequences of today's rise in the price of petrol. The department of Energy has announced that the price of petrol will increase by 29 cents per litre while diesel prices will cost consumers an additional 21 cents per litre.

This will unfortunately hit the poor the hardest, because there will be the inevitable increases in public transport fares, the price of food and other basic essentials. This also means that many workers and students will have to pay even more to get to and from their workplaces and classes.

This combined with the rate of inflation will force workers and unions to adopt a hard-line attitude, when it comes to the upcoming round of wage negotiations. Workers will be looking at the next round of the bargaining cycle to deliver decent wage increases that will allow them to keep pace with their rising cost of living.

We recognise that some of the reasons behind the fuel increase like currency fluctuations and shipping costs are not easy to manage and regulate, but we still insist that government does suffer from poor planning and lack of vision.

We still have not been properly clarified as to why the Central Energy Fund secretly sold R5bn or 10-million barrels of crude, close to its entire stockpile without any permission from the National Treasury and below price last year.

This is the kind of short-sightedness and negligence that leaves South Africans and the economy exposed to whims and the volatility of the market.

COSATU has also consistently urged government to increase subsidies for public transport and invests more in improving the quality and efficiency of public transport, particularly in poorer communities. This has unfortunately received no attention from our government including the issue of doing away with e-tolls in Gauteng and expensive tollgates across the country.

We hope that government will start paying attention to what the workers have been saying ,and continue to say ,about being more hands-on in the economy ,and also doing away with the unreasonable and much reviled e-tolls in Gauteng.

Issued by COSATU

Sizwe Pamla (National Spokesperson)
Tel: +27 11 339-4911 Direct 010 219-1339
Mobile: 060 975 6794

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