Vavi refuses to attend CEC meeting

By Drum Digital
02 March 2015

"I will not join the COSATU CEC -- I don't believe going ahead with half of the unions refusing to participate is the best way to unify."

Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi took to Twitter on Monday to say he would not attend the federation's central executive committee (CEC) meeting.

"I will not join the COSATU CEC -- I don't believe going ahead with half of the unions refusing to participate is the best way to unify," Vavi tweeted at 7.25am.

Responding to a tweet asking if staying away or boycotting would bring unity, Vavi said: "I twice attended the CEC with 340,000 dismissed and with half not present -- that did not help unity project."

Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven said he had heard that Vavi and eight federation affiliates would not attend the CEC but said he could not really comment.

The CEC would go ahead.

"I wouldn't like to comment on that until we see what happens at the meeting," he said.

On Sunday, eight Cosatu affiliates pledged not to participate in the federation's meetings until the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) was reinstated, the national office bearers (NOBs) said in a joint statement.

The eight unions are the Food and Allied Workers' Union; the SA Football Players' Union; the SA State and Allied Workers' Union; the Public and Allied Workers' Union of SA; the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA; the Communication Workers' Union; and the SA Commercial, Catering, and Allied Workers' Union.

"The group of eight [Cosatu affiliates] has also resolved to write a letter to the ANC task team, which is still seeking to mediate in Cosatu, to explain very clearly that the eight unions will not participate in Cosatu meetings until Numsa is back."

Numsa was expelled from Cosatu in November for contravening Cosatu's constitution.

The expulsion was based on resolutions taken at Numsa's special congress in December 2013, including the decision not to support the African National Congress in the general elections.

Cosatu has called on Numsa to withdraw those resolutions, which it has refused to do.

An ANC task team was appointed to help the embattled Cosatu deal with internal friction, including the expulsion of Numsa.

Numsa and the eight affiliate unions' NOBs voiced their opposition to the federation continuing with its CEC on Monday.

"We also wish to register our view that any attempt to continue with the Cosatu CEC tomorrow, as scheduled, in the absence of progress on unity issues constitutes a destructive step which can only further deepen divisions," it said in the statement on Sunday.

The unions applauded those who picketed outside Cosatu House on Friday in opposition to Numsa's expulsion.

The national executive of Cosatu affiliate the SA Democratic Teachers' Union, however, condemned the Friday protest.

The Cosatu CEC has granted the request of Numsa's allies for a special national congress to consider an appeal on the expulsion of the metalworkers' union.

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