Numsa’s socialist party a Cosatu resolution – Jim

2014-11-17 15:19

Numsa’s call for a workers’ socialist political party came from the Congress of SA Trade Unions’ own resolutions, says Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim.

At the past six Congress of SA Trade Unions congresses, dating back to 1997, the trade union federation had resolved to set up a united front for workers, he said.

“They called it a ‘broad popular movement for transformation around common struggles on issues facing the working class’,” said Jim said at the union’s Ford motor company indaba in Pretoria today.

“Cosatu called on the building of a movement towards socialism, which they called ‘a popular movement towards socialism’.”

Jim said the country was ravaged by de-industrialisation and existing industries were in crisis.

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) resolved that workers needed their own political organisation, he said.

This was the context that persuaded Numsa to say “enough is enough”.

“So it decided immediately to start building the United Front on the basis of full implementation of the Freedom Charter,” he said.

Different affiliates within Cosatu organised in the same constituencies, and most affiliates overlapped in scope, he said.

“Denosa [Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA], Nehawu [National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union] and Sandu [SA Democratic Nurses’ Union] all organising nurses is an example,” he said.

“Fawu [Food and Allied Workers’ Union] described in the CEC [central executive committee] how it was losing members to Saccawu [SA Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers’ Union].”

In 2002 the National Union of Mineworkers’ [NUM] scope was listed as mining, construction, and energy.

In 2005 Gwede Mantashe [as NUM general secretary] signed changes to mining, construction, energy, “and allied”. Metal was listed under allied, said Jim.

“Manufacturing of metal is firmly in Numsa’s scope. Why were the NUM general secretaries not reprimanded? Why was the NUM not expelled?” he asked.

Jim called on metalworkers to unite.

“Trade unions are voluntary organisations, you can’t be a member of Numsa by accident... it is a conscious decision.

“We call on all metalworkers to set aside any prejudices they may have and strive for unity under the guiding slogan of the international working class,” said Jim.

Cosatu expelled Numsa at its CEC meeting on November 8.

Jim said the union was taking legal advice on whether to challenge its expulsion in court.

Numsa would convene a special CEC meeting on November 21 to discuss the way forward, he said.

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