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June 1st is International Children’s Day. In South Africa the month of June is also a month in which we focus on needs of children and the youth.

SACCAWU together with COSATU has since 1990 declared that we should use this day to highlight our demands on childcare and educare. The Federation declared that June 1st must be observed as “Child-care Day”, for workers in SA.

The declaration has come about because working parents have no rights and support to help them to carry out their responsibilities as parents. Working parents worry constantly about the safety and security of their children. There are almost no childcare facilities for black pre-school children. There are also no facilities for after care for school going children. Furthermore, educare for children up to pre-school is a neglected area. Quality childcare is very expensive and it is only the rich that can afford it.

The state and the bosses are not taking responsibility for affordable, safe and quality childcare facilities. The government is rather reducing its expenditure on social welfare in line with its neo-liberal strategy. The bosses on the other hand are more concerned with maximizing their profits. With the spiralling cost of living which impacts on childcare the working class will be hard pressed to make ends meet.

President Louise Thipe addressing SACCAWU Gender Conference
President Louise Thipe addressing SACCAWU Gender Conference

It is for these reasons that we in SACCAWU should highlight our demands on June 1st Our demands are:

  • 20 days a year paid time-off for childcare;

  • Bosses must take responsibility for our childcare facilities

On this day, we as SACCAWU members must take action to show that we are serious about our demands. The actions we can take are:

  • Lunch hour demonstrations/pickets
  • Take children to work

  • Hold lunch hour meetings at the workplaces

Further, we demand that the bosses and government agree to Ratify the ILO Convention 183: Revised Maternity Protection Convention.

Aluta Continua

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