After Greece and Spain, South Africa has the third highest unemployment rate in the world for people between the ages of 15 to 24. Half of the people between the age of 15 and 24 are unemployed in this country. About 71% of all unemployed people in South Africa are between the ages 15-29. Most of them are women; the majority have never had a job in their lives.
Such high levels of unemployment amongst youth are a disaster. Many in this age group have lost hope of ever finding a job.
Politicians and business organisations often refer to youth unemployment as a ticking time-bomb. But their actions to address this problem do not match their words. There are little government efforts to find real solutions to the problem of youth unemployment. Equally, the bosses refuse to offer youth, permanent and decent jobs. In place of the creation of jobs, what we find is a string of false solutions and a number of shortterm measures such as public works projects and the R1.6-billion National Rural Youth Service Corps. This offered little training to 14 500 young people that were recruited into the scheme from 2010.
Instead of providing lasting solutions to youth unemployment, the government has come up with a new elastoplast called the Employment Tax Incentive Act. This says that a section of the working class will be forced to subsidise young workers, workers in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and workers in industries that the Minister of Finance may designate.
To us, the new tax incentive scheme is just another false solution to the problem of youth unemployment because:
As the undersigned organisations, we have decided to call for a National Strike and a Day of Action on Wednesday 19 March to highlight the issue of youth unemployment.
The strike on 19 March is protected in terms of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) as the unions have served notices to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC). Every worker can join the strike without fear of dismissal or victimisation.
The national strike is called by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), General Industries Workers Union of South Africa (Giwusa) and Commercial, Stevedoring, Agricultural & Allied Workers’ Union (CSAAWU). The following organisations support the strike and Day of Action: DLF, MSC, PAWUSA, NEHAWU UJ Cleaners, MACODEFO, SOPA, SECC, GOLCOM, EFF (Vaal, Soweto), WASP, OKM, TCC, SAYRO, Sukumani Sinqobe, MUP, ZDLS, PPP, INCR, APDUSA, KL & SG.
A steering committee made up of all these organisations will meet on Mon 10 and Mon 17 March from 10.00 to 12.00 at Vincent Mabuyakhulu Conference Centre (VMCC), 155 Bree Street (Cnr. Gerard Sekoto St) in Newtown.
Organisations that want to join the action must contact George Chosane at (011) 6891700 or 0824685898.
Find out here where the march closest to you will take place