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Stern warning to employers not to prevent workers from voting

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African National Congress (ANC) president Cyril Ramaphosa has warned employers not to prevent their workers from voting in next week’s general election.

This follows reports that some companies may try to stop workers from making their mark on May eighth.

Addressing a Workers’ Day rally in Clermont in the west of Durban, Ramaphosa says government will not hesitate to take action against employers who prevent their employees from exercising their democratic right.

“We have heard that there are some employers particularly in the farming industry who are bent on preventing their workers from going to vote and we call on those employers to desist from such activities. Do not stop workers from going to vote it is their democratic right. If we should find that you have prevented your workers from going to vote we are going to look at this in a very-very negative light and we will be looking at processes that we can embark upon,” says Ramaphosa.

May Day commemoration

May Day is a day to commemorate the struggle for workers’ rights. Globally workers continue to campaign for their rights and fair treatment – just like workers in South Africa fought racial discrimination.

A quarter century into democracy, workers are reflecting on the strides made. Even the basic right of celebrating Workers’ Day is seen as significant.

Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi says, “Now workers can enjoy their rights even the basics to be able to celebrate such a day…”

And workers were praised for their role in building the country. “The workforce in this country is important to us. The interests of workers must be in the forefront plans and programmes,” President Cyril Ramaphosa insists.

It’s been acknowledged that there are still challenges in the workplace.  Ramaphosa says the retention and creation of jobs remain a priority.

And companies have been cautioned not to exploit workers.

Ramaphosa says, “Those who violate worker’s rights and continue to pay poverty salaries and endanger our people must stop. All companies must implement the national minimum wage without fail or they will force government to enforce compliance.”

Watch the President’s speech at the Workers Day Rally:

Calls for ‘danger insurance’

Cosatu’s first deputy president, Mike Shingange says the celebration of May Day in Mpumalanga is in memory of the 3 Lilly mineworkers near Barberton who were buried when the mine caved in about three years ago.

Shingange was among Trade Union leaders who attended the provincial May Day celebration.

In his address, Shingange also appreciated that there was no life lost when about 1800 workers were trapped underground at Sibanye Mine just on the eve of May Day.

He said there’s a need for workers who are facing danger in their workplaces to be offered ‘danger insurance’.

“That just shows comrade that you can wake up from home, go to work and never return to your family, including our police, including our nurses, people die  on the line of duty. That is why we are demanding a danger insurance. Not a danger allowance. An insurance that is going to give to the bereaved family in case a bread winner loses his life on the line of duty.”

Mike Singange says the growing population in the country requires enough civil servants who can provide services to the public.

(Source: SABC News)

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