New union hoping to align with NFP

2012-11-06 00:00

A NEW union that wants to become an alternative to the formidable Cosatu hopes that in time it will be aligned with the National Freedom Party.

The National Union of Progressive Workers (NUPW), with its base in Mandeni in the iLembe District on the North Coast, is seeking to galvanise members throughout the country, having held in meetings Gauteng at the weekend and Mandeni on Sunday.

However, support is still modest, with only 3 800 members in total spread across Gauteng and Limpopo. Most of the members are in KZN, and in Mandeni alone the membership is 1 126.

The union is yet to be formally launched and is managed by task team national secretary Ntokozo Mabika, who at just 36 has managed to advance through the ranks of the Inkatha Freedom Party , ANC and most recently Cope. He has also served in various unions, including Cosatu and its affiliates.

“By 2014 we would like to be aligned with the NFP as we believe their policies on labour fit our mandate.

“We are hoping to have NFP president Zanele Magwaza-Msibi at another round of meetings next weekend in Mandeni.”

Mabika said the union’s funding was confidential, but added that members of Parliament and the KZN legislature had made donations.

NFP general secretary and spokesperson Professor Nhlanhla Khubisa said the party’s president had not received an invitation to the weekend event.

However, the party supported the creation of new unions as the “union space is currently monopolised”, making reference to Cosatu’s dominance.

“Although we have not been approached directly, we will support this movement. We as a party are aware of the shortcomings of unions in recent months, made most evident in the Marikana incident. We support the plight of workers regardless of their political affiliation,” said Khubisa.

He said to date the party was not affiliated to any union; nor did it financially back any union.

Mabika said the union was being created due to the “disillusionment with Cosatu” of Cosatu members.

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