Unity, poll campaign on agenda at Cosatu executive committee meeting

2014-02-22 13:32

The Congress of SA Trade Unions will hold a three-day central executive committee (CEC) meeting in Joburg next week.

The meeting, which would start on Monday, would be attended by national office bearers, leaders of affiliated unions and provincial structures, spokesperson Patrick Craven said today.

The CEC would discuss, among other things, the unity and cohesion of the trade union federation, the election campaign, post alliance summit issues, the national minimum wage and the SABC’s editorial policy.

Cosatu has been at loggerheads with nine of its affiliate unions over the request to hold a special national congress (SNC) and the suspension of general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

The trade union federation held a special CEC earlier this month which was boycotted by the nine unions.

Following the special CEC, acting general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said the meeting had declined the request for a SNC.

The nine unions have since accused Cosatu’s leadership of manipulating that meeting.

“It is clear that this faction is prepared to sacrifice Cosatu and turn it into a toothless giant in order to please its political masters,” the unions said in a joint statement.

“We cannot and will not allow this to happen without a determined struggle and we believe that we have the support of the majority of Cosatu workers.”

The affiliates are the Communication Workers Union, the Democratic Nurses Union of SA, the Food and Allied Workers Union, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), the Public and Allied Workers Union of SA, the SA Commercial and Catering Workers Union, the SA Football Players Union, the SA Municipal Workers Union, and the SA State and Allied Workers Union.

The nine unions have called for Vavi to be reinstated. He was suspended last year after he said he had an affair with a junior employee who had accused him of rape but had not laid charges with the police.

The affiliates believed the disciplinary process instituted against Vavi was unjust.

They wanted the congress to be held by the end of March and a new Cosatu leadership elected. The unions threatened to take Cosatu to court if it did not hold the congress.

The unions said on Tuesday they would continue to campaign for a SNC and would use all constitutional and legal means to do so.

The CEC last week also took a decision to give Numsa an ultimatum following resolutions it had taken at its special congress last year.

Cosatu wanted Numsa to give reasons why it should not be suspended or expelled.

The metalworkers’ union resolved at its congress in December not to support the African National Congress in the upcoming general elections.

The nine affiliates accused Cosatu of trying to destabilise Numsa, which is the trade union federation’s biggest affiliate.

Cosatu has said Numsa, as a Cosatu affiliate, was bound by the trade union federation’s policies and constitution. Cosatu is an alliance partner of the ANC.

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