COSATU calls general strike
The Council of South African Trade Unions Central Executive Committee has voted to hold a general strike on November 15, a week before parliament is scheduled to approve South Africa's interim constitution.
The strike is being called to protest against clauses in the draft constitution limiting workers' rights. General secretary Sam Shilowa announced the strike on October 16, saying it would go ahead unless negotiators agreed to remove a clause guaranteeing tenure of current civil servants and a clause in the interim Bill of Rights enabling employers to lock out workers.
The call for the national general strike came as a shock. It is the first time COSATU has called for mass action without first discussing its plans with its alliance partner, the ANC.
Marches and protests are being planned for the weeks leading up to the strike. Final endorsement of the strike will come from COSATU's regional congresses, which will also determine the length of the strike.