Cosatu wants historic student debts cleared
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has called on government to support the push for the cancellation of student debt for workers and graduates who remain burdened by such liabilities.
The trade union federation says Covid-19 lockdown has deepened the financial stress that is faced by many workers who have impaired credit records and are unable to repay their debts on time. They say that some of these workers risk losing their jobs, having their wages reduced and their possessions repossessed.
Cosatu wants the government to intervene in the matter by urging higher learning institutions to cancel academic loans for new workers entering the labour markets and graduates who are sitting at home waiting on jobs.
Cosatu national spokesperson Sizwe Pamla says while the matter has been raised before, the situation has become urgent.
It has become more urgent now with the economic fallout as a result of this outbreak and lockdown.Sizwe Pamla, spokesperson - Cosatu
Of course many South Africans are highly indebted but let us look at the debts where we can easily say these people did not necessarily have a choice.Sizwe Pamla, spokesperson - Cosatu
We need a conversation generally because what is currently happening is that we have 41 percent of graduates who are actually unemployed and sitting at home.Sizwe Pamla, spokesperson - Cosatu
Even the ones that have just been absorbed by the labour market, when you look at the principles of retrenchment, there is a principle in that the last one in is the first one out....you are likely to be considered for retrenchment.Sizwe Pamla, spokesperson - Cosatu
With people sitting at home you are not getting the returns on investment.Sizwe Pamla, spokesperson - Cosatu
We think that the National Treasury working with other stakeholders can find a way of ensuring that without derailing the system of higher education funding but we find pragmatic ways of ensuring that we can look at the cases of those individuals who are affected and make sure they cancel their debts as a way of allowing them to find ways of meaningfully participating in the economy.Sizwe Pamla, spokesperson - Cosatu
Click on the link below to hear the full conversation....
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