Unions have been co-opted - Malema

Pretoria - EFF leader Julius Malema has lashed out against South Africa's trade unions, calling them “unions for management”.

He says those that are left are in bed with management. He made an example with the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) fighting to bring back the Guptas instead of standing for the rights of workers.

“There is no longer a workers union. It’s a union for management. They are co-opting with management and no one is representing the workers,” Malema said on Sunday.

“We are saying the Guptas must go because they are stealing money from South Africa and Cosatu goes and fetches them. The same Cosatu that’s supposed to be on the workers side, it says come back and steal some more.”

Malema was addressing a resident of Ebony Park near Midrand. A resident went on stage and asked Malema and his party to start a workers union that would fight for their rights.

In his response, Malema lashed out at Cosatu saying it failed to stand with workers of Gupta-owned companies. He added that those who worked for those companies did so due to a lack of jobs in the country.

‘Treating workers like dogs’

He said Cosatu’s lack of intervention was similar to that of government and the ANC.

“The Guptas are not creating jobs. They are treating workers like dogs. That is why [Collen] Maine was kicked out when he tried to speak to the workers. They told Maine that he never came when they complained about ill treatment and working conditions,” said Malema.

“Our people who work for the Guptas do so because there is no work, otherwise they wouldn’t work there. How do you work for a company that has no respect for South African laws, workers’ rights and there is no union?”

Malema questioned how Cosatu could intervene by going to speak to the Guptas and asking them to come back. Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini confirmed that union leadership met the Gupta family last week, saying the family had assured them they were not leaving South Africa but had merely attended a family wedding.

Dlamini was speaking at Cosatu's Chris Hani memorial lecture in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday night where union members mainly from the midlands region were in attendance.

“Our mission behind meeting the Guptas last week was about the jobs that were at stake if they [the Guptas] decided to leave the country,” said Dlamini at the time.

‘Unions belong to ANC’

Malema said all labour unions were in the pocket of management and also existed to protect the ANC.

“Cosatu never went to fight for workers but today it’s fighting for Guptas and not workers. All unions have been co-opted. They are part of management. Our people no longer have unions.

“The unions now belong to the ANC which is why when you speak out, you’re accused of trying to destabilize the party,” said Malema.

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