Cosatu denies losing members
Johannesburg - Cosatu-affiliated unions are not losing members, contrary to recent reports, spokesperson Patrick Craven said on Thursday.
He was responding to the release of Adcorp's employment index earlier this week which indicated a "growing crisis" in the South African trade union movement.
"This certainly does not apply to Cosatu-affiliated unions which on average are still growing, despite the global economic crisis and the accelerating casualisation of labour," Craven said in a statement.
Adcorp said on Tuesday trade unions were losing members.
"Since 2006 trade unions have lost 129 424 members which translates to a loss of R95 773 760 per annum in membership dues," Adcorp's labour market analyst Loane Sharp said.
Craven criticised this finding for lacking an attributable source.
Adcorp said the source was one of its divisions, Adcorp Analytics.
Craven said Adcorp - which he called "a firm of labour brokers" - should take some of the blame where unions had lost members.
"If other unions are losing members, then the Adcorps of this world must accept a big share of the blame.
"One of our reasons for demanding the banning of labour broking is that it, and other forms of casualisation, make it far harder for workers to exercise their constitutional right to join a union."
Craven said workers without permanent work, who were dependent on labour brokers, found it difficult to join a trade union.
"Casualisation makes it easier for employers, especially labour brokers, to keep them unorganised and exploit them more ruthlessly," he said.
Adcorp found there had been low participation in strikes, with only 1.4% of members turning out for strikes since 2006, and strike attendance ranging from zero percent to 8.8%.
Craven called this "suspicious".
"The idea of a strike involving zero percent of the workers is mind-boggling and casts serious doubt on all the other 'findings'.
"Ironically, if there is any truth at all in the assertion that so few workers are involved in strike action, they should inform their fellow capitalists, who constantly get hysterical about the alarming increase in strikes."
Craven said Cosatu was doing everything possible to reduce unemployment.
"The trade unions are playing their role in promoting the new growth path, infrastructure development and other programmes which will create jobs.
"Labour and the other three Nedlac constituencies have entered into agreements with government departments, and have signed accords, which will help us to play our full part in creating five million new jobs by 2020."
This was a better way to deal with unemployment, he said.
Adcorp was not immediately available on Thursday afternoon to comment.