The tax laws that government unilaterally signed recently including the New Tax Reform Amendment Act is only meant to undermine the independence of workers. AMCU remains steadfast in the fight for the rights of the members and against exploitation of workers.

AMCU cannot allow the government to impose laws that are not beneficial to the members and that are clearly meant to block the workers from making their own decisions on what to do with their hard earned Provident Fund.

Government signed the law at a time when the country is engulfed in a low wage regime with workers paid very low wages. The apartheid era still exists, workers still cannot afford to improve their lives during their working age and are still not able to even access bank financing to get loans to buy or build houses or invest in assets in preparation for retirement.

As such, provident fund lump sum pay outs provide a great leap and last gasp investment for most workers who buy these assets at their retirement in order to leave comfortable legacies for their families.

Furthermore, the current low wage regime is also compounding to these reforms, as there is no culture of saving in South Africa. In a country like ours these reform remains oblivious to the right of the worker because only two-thirds of the total working population earns less than the median earnings.

Depriving workers of this opportunity is robbing them twice, through slave wages and impoverishing legislations that deny them access to their money and the opportunity to leave dignified legacies.

The logic informing these tax amendments is misguided as they seek to compel all workers to save for retirement annuities. AMCU will encourage members not to accept this New Tax Reform Amendment Act as we are strongly opposed to it.

This compulsory saving mechanism is drummed up on workers in order to create financial reserves for the government to build E-Tolls and fund birthday parties for organisations that are connected to pension fund administrators such as the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) as was confirmed by allegations submitted to the public protector recently.

As such it is the AMCU contention that it is difficult for workers to save on their current wages how about for their retirement annuity in the future. Actuarial evidence shows us that even in high-income economies, very few workers live the life they were living during their working age. This is worse in the middle and low-income economies where workers hardly make ends meet. These retirement savings will not make a meaningful contribution to workers in their retirement age and are even better paid out as a lump sum contribution so that a worker may decide to invest in something that receive annuities that will not even be able to sustain their day to day needs.

There are therefore compelling reasons for AMCU to oppose these reforms and join the corresponding voices in the labour market that are demanding a repeal of this legislation.

AMCU cannot have its members exploited by the government that is colluding with the employers. As a union we will explore possibilities of applying for a joinder with other organisations that have tabled Section 77 application for protest action to Nedlac in terms of the Labour Relations Act.

The Union will further seek to tabulate an AMCU problem statement to Nedlac for a repeal of this legislation for lasting solutions related to comprehensive social security and a viable social protection flow in South Africa.

AMCU will embark on protest action to ensure that this law is not effected. We therefore encourage National Treasury to institute a moratorium on this legislation until all social partners have been consulted and a viable social security mechanism has been thrashed out and regulated instead of this piecemeal approach that only addresses one side of the continuum.