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SATUCC 2016 LABOUR (MAY) DAY STATEMENT | Southern African Trade Union Co-ordination Council
Southern Africa Trade Union Co-ordination Council

Friday, April 29th, 2016

qatar-workersAs we commemorate the Labour (May) Day this year on the 1st of May 2016, our SADC region faces one of the most severe droughts and hunger situations in the wake of worsening climate change conditions. Besides, several of our SADC countries are undergoing declining real economies, and unprecedented increases in unemployment.

The vulnerable and marginalised population groups – women, children, youth, the elderly and the workers in the informal economy are definitely the most hit.

The SADC heads of state and government in August of 2014, signed the SADC Employment and Labour Protocol and currently the SADC Youth Employment Promotion Policy Framework is being finalised. It therefore remains the responsibility of trade unions to collectively push that these policy instruments are ratified or adopted and then duly implemented by all SADC member states as a way of addressing the challenges of escalating unemployment in the SADC region.

This year, every moment we spend organising, mobilising and striving towards an improved work life will be paramount. It is time for trade unions to seriously consider going back to the basics. It can no longer be business as usual. The fight to secure our jobs, our worth is now much broader than focusing on the “conditions of work”.

Trade unions need to begin to once again aggressively engage in defining and influencing much broader policy outcomes. Workers cannot just rely on legislators and policy makers alone, to define the economy and society we believe is ideal. We need to define it and push for it. The collective – in the labour movement has once again become most relevant.

It is increasingly obvious that workers cannot go it alone, nor will trade unions attain the milestones if they continue to be pulled apart by other forces. Solidarity and unity, have become the panacea for strengthening the workers’ struggle in this day and age. This Labour (May) Day, therefore becomes a vivid reminder of what we once were, and what we could become – together.

Despite this analogy, we must also not forget the Labour (May) Day, is not just about drowning in the challenges confronting workers. It’s also a day of celebration. It is about recognising each struggle that workers have won and the endless dedication to make this world a better place for all.

So today, we pay tribute to workers everywhere, who tirelessly carry the heavy burden of putting bread on the table. A sure sign that it is indeed workers who immensely contribute to the construction and thriving of economies, eradication of poverty and sustenance of dignity in our society at every level.

 Wishing All Workers Prosperous Labour (May) Day Commemorations!