Cosatu making things worse: Unions

By Drum Digital
29 January 2014

Cosatu's denial of a crisis within the trade union federation is making matters worse, says nine of its affiliate unions.

Cosatu's denial of a crisis within the trade union federation is making matters worse, nine of its affiliate unions said on Wednesday.

"A review of what Cosatu was supposed to implement following its 2012 congress reveals an organisation unable to move forward in any significant area," Samwu general secretary Walter Theledi told reporters in Irene, south of Pretoria.

"Within the alliance, Cosatu is increasingly marginalised and ignored."

A recent example of how Cosatu's policies and structures were being undermined was the trade union federation's "unqualified and uncritical" endorsement of the African National Congress's election manifesto.

Nine Congress of SA Trade Unions affiliates had called for the reinstatement of suspended general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and for a special congress.

They are the Communication Workers Union, the Democratic Nurses Union of SA, the Food and Allied Workers Union, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA, 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.

Theledi was reading a statement on behalf of the unions.

The unions believed the process to suspend Vavi and now prosecute him was unconstitutional and unfair.

"The constitutional structures of the federation have been bypassed in order to assemble a range of charges and by using the media to denigrate the character of the general secretary," Theledi said.

"We believe that the time frames associated with suspension, and the terms of reference, have rendered the process grossly unfair."

Vavi was suspended last year after he admitted to having an affair with a junior employee.

Cosatu handed him a charge sheet earlier this month, five months after his suspension.

The nine unions were demanding Cosatu hold a special congress.

Theledi said the unions wanted a new Cosatu leadership elected.

They wanted the congress to be held before the end of March.

"If the [congress] is not called by the end of March, we will have no option other than to pursue the matter through the courts," he said. - Sapa

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