08 NOVEMBER 2022
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has successfully petitioned the Presidency to grant the country’s workers their rightful amount of rest days this year after the agreement to declare 27 December a paid public holiday.
Months ago, the federation requested that President Cyril Ramaphosa should review the December holidays calendar after realising that Christmas Day is on a Sunday, while Day of Goodwill is on a Monday. Had FEDUSA not intervened, this would have seen South African workers losing out on a paid holiday as the 27th of December would have been an ordinary working day.
We took on this fight considering the challenges facing our members in the retail and hospitality sector among others who would not have had the liberty to enjoy the 12 public holidays as determined by the Public Holidays Act of 1994.
The Act stipulates that whenever any public holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday following it shall be a public holiday. This means that Christmas Day’s holiday is on Monday the 26th, which is already a holiday, meaning that workers would have been robbed of an extra day on the 27th.
FEDUSA is pleased that President Ramaphosa has heeded the workers’ pleas, further giving us comfort about his commitment to the yet-to-be-realised social compact. As a federation that believes in consultative processes, the decision could not have come at a better time following weeks of discussions with the President’s office over the matter.
Originally, the Day of Goodwill was referred to as Boxing Day. However, as the country ushered in a new democracy in 1994, the name of the holiday was changed as the country overcame its colonial past rooted in British traditions. Since then, South Africans have had the opportunity to enjoy the day unwinding with their families following Christmas festivities.
Albeit this is not the first time that the country has had to deal with this complexity of the holidays falling on multiple weekend days before, FEDUSA is delighted that Ramaphosa has sighed off the public holiday.
We also want to take this opportunity to wish the country’s workers who have worked relentlessly to stave off the possibility of a technical recession happy and responsible holidays.
We applaud FEDUSA members for their sustained calls for the President to declare the 27th of December a paid public holiday. This has amplified the federation’s belief that we can only secure victories through concerted and intentional effort as a collective.
For Media enquiries
For interviews please contact:
Ms Riefdah Ajam
FEDUSA General Secretary
076 696 2625
Mr Ashley Benjamin
FEDUSA Deputy General Secretary
083 258 4433