Splinter unions a concern: Vavi

2012-08-25 16:25

Johannesburg - The emergence of splinter unions formed by former members of Cosatu was "extremely worrying," Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Saturday.

"The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) is currently facing a massive challenge from splinter unions, formed by disgruntled elements within our ranks," Vavi said in a speech prepared for delivery.

He was speaking at a conference for the SA Medical Association's doctors who work in the public service.

The emergence of Natawu, a breakaway from the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) led by former Satawu president and Amcu, which was formed by former NUM members and shop stewards was extremely worrying, he said.

"This represents the biggest onslaught waged by the bourgeoisie against the living standards of the working class," said Vavi.

Former Satawu president Ephraim Mphahlele resigned from the union two weeks ago to join splinter union National Transport Allied Workers Union (Natawu).

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) was formed by former member of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Joseph Mathunjwa.

Vavi said Cosatu's "biggest test" would be how to unite against "this orchestrated attack from the employers, right wing organisations and their think tanks."

"In sectors as vulnerable as mining, transport and cleaning, the real beneficiaries of these divisions are the capitalists who own and control our economy today."

He said Cosatu subscribed to a “one industry, one union” principle and believed that workers’ unity was sacrosanct.

"This is why we believe that splinters are inherently harmful... because they divide the loyalties of the workers and undermine their unity," Vavi said.

  • Desilusionada - 2012-08-25 16:35

    "This represents the biggest onslaught waged by the bourgeoisie against the living standards of the working class," Read: "We cannot control and manipulate all people, all if the time. These people have started waking up or perhaps they are just power hungry, seeing that they had a shining example set by the Cosatu leadership. We do not want them to go the way of the ANC." Wait till they start killing each other, the taxi wars were just a little school-yard spat...

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-08-25 17:42

      Since when do COSATU have have the copyright? WHo do these guys think they are?

      bernpm - 2012-08-25 18:57

      "This represents the biggest onslaught waged by the bourgeoisie against the living standards of the working class," Advice to Mr Vavi: get out of the comfort zone of the tripartite alliance with the ANC and stand on your own legs to represent the working class. See where you end up. Running out of apartheid excuses, don't you?????

      john.barbarian.9 - 2012-08-26 03:39

      @bernpm Not that your point is not valid, but how do you forsee a coexistance of Unions without Political orientation? Syndicates are making far more many than any political organisation. No one has monthly instalments for being ANC member....correct? Just stay for 5 min in one of COSATU gatherings and you will find your answers.

      louis.olivier.988 - 2012-08-26 09:23

      Vavi is only worried that he will have to down size his luxury vehicle and the size of his pay cheque. These splinter union are going to bring down COSATU and this vrot, rotten, corrupt cANCer, and that will only be by force of arms not the ballot box. The cANCer knows it losing ground and will resort to any means to retain power, even the murdering of any persons in opposing it. This corrupt government knows that when they are out, the courts will be very busy convicting them and the prisons will be too small to hold the multitude of corrupt cANCer officials. That includes old Shabiar and cwele…..

  • Jason - 2012-08-25 16:35

    Dont like competition right?

  • deon.jansevanrensburg.58 - 2012-08-25 16:40

    The Axis of Evil is a hoot a minute - don't like competition just like any other schoolyard bully.

  • lenox.ntlantsana - 2012-08-25 16:40

    Arch rivals within politics n now in Unions too? What is next?

  • freddie.jones.58367 - 2012-08-25 16:42

    What a load of dis-proven communist clap-trap. People, even so called working class people, want freedom to do what they choose. Not to be told what to do by egotistic so called 'leaders' whether union leaders or politicians.

  • sharon.erwin.96 - 2012-08-25 17:06

    Vavi might not like it, but I do! Any organisation with too much power is corruptable, as Cosatu has become. Time for change...

  • shaun.d.corrigan - 2012-08-25 17:07

    It is just plain stupid nonsense. I have just completed my MA at Oxford, in History, and the first essay I wrote I mentioned 'class.' My (left wing) tutor, wrote 'never use that word, Marxism it is totally discredited even as a tool for Historical analysis.' But, what do you expect from someone whom, I understand has an aircraft maintenance certificate, as the summit of his academic achievement.

      shaun.d.corrigan - 2012-08-25 17:08

      Well actually she did not say 'Marxism it is' ;-)

      Thanduxolo Galada - 2012-08-25 17:30

      You're ignorant even with your MA from Oxford. You'd recognize that education is not limited to tertiary education, you could never fill Vavi's shoes because by your patronizing thinking, anyone below an MA is lower class. Our grandparents in Azania hold the PhD's in life. One hopes education teaches one to make decisions, think critically and make integrated analysis. In your case it's made you arrogant and classist, this is not the way of one truly educated. Oxford was a waste on you bigot!

  • ben.pieters.9 - 2012-08-25 17:12

    For the first time we see the true face of Vavi; often praised as perhaps the most level-headed leader in the alliance and ready to speak his mind against ANC misdeeds. Statements like "this represents the biggest onslaught waged by the bourgeoisie against the living standards of the working class," and "this orchestrated attack from the employers, right wing organisations and their think tanks" and "splinters are inherently harmful... because they divide the loyalties of the workers and undermine their unity," show his interpretation of the tragic events and its impact on the failing ability of Cosatu to control the unionised labour market. The recognition agreements legally forced upon employers destroy the ability of any other union to be heard by the employer, despite having a significant number of employees as members. It is the biggest single cause of the current unrest in the mining industry. Impala cannot recognise AMCU much before end 2012 given the red tape involved in changing recognition agreements. They have already proposed no less than 8 member verification methods to both unions but cannot reach agreement! I foresee a prolonged period of labout unrest as this scenario plays itself out across many industries: dissatisfied members joining "splinter" unions as Vavi refers to it, and the Cosatu affiliated union exercising its not inconsiderable power under recognition agreements to keep the splinter unions away from the employer for as long as possible.

  • jerry.medina.756 - 2012-08-25 17:22

    Freedom of choice is enshrined in the constitution Mr Vavi. I wonder what will happen the day your ANC lose elections. Vavi you and your comrades represent what is wrong with our so called democracy. The sheep-ling are waking up to reality at last. Honey moon is over papie.

      sharon.erwin.96 - 2012-08-25 18:17

      Last I heard the tripartite alliance decided to use the pages of the constitution as toilet paper. It's not much good for anything else, as far as they are concerned...

  • judith.taylor.56 - 2012-08-25 17:56

    When did you last connect with the real workers on the ground Mr Vavi, instead of your well-paid colleagues? You and your colleagues could rightly be called the "running dogs of capitalism"

      jerry.medina.756 - 2012-08-25 19:45

      Cosatu should know that their mandate is to represent the workers. They too busy with politics instead of getting deals for their workers. High time they decide if they are a political party or a trade union.

  • Sidney Gilroy - 2012-08-25 17:57

    Mr. Vavi. If you and your precious Cosatu has ALL the answers, maybe YOU can re-employ the 1.2 Million who lost their jobs in the past two years. Time to shut up and fall in line.

      Klaus - 2012-08-25 18:02

      Next in line are ALL Government employees, local & otherwise, who are unionised and extremely useless

  • Motho - 2012-08-25 18:02

    The problem is that union leaders are living large while workers are struggling to get by a day, it has nothing to with companies executives as companies executives doesn't represent workers.

  • simon.richansen - 2012-08-25 18:12

    Not sure how they can be right wing or the anything else when they are splinters of you organization. Sounds like oppressive thinking, if you are not with us you are the enemy.

  • brendon.nel.7 - 2012-08-25 18:50

    What's wrong Vavi? See the udders of. The cash cow emptying?

  • hannetjie.legrange - 2012-08-25 18:50

    It is high time that the 'fat cats' who run the Unions wake up and start doping something for their members and not just lining their pockets!!!!!!

  • ken.grimblegrumble - 2012-08-25 18:51

    Vavi a word of warning the rabbits have suddenly realised the power they hold over the local population and will be starting a covert union next week. They will do this by stealth, and out-breeding current union members. Beware they have the backing of the local Sangoma's 0

  • robin.oelofsen - 2012-08-25 18:54

    "This is why we believe that splinters are inherently harmful... because they divide the loyalties of the workers and undermine their unity," Vavi said. Sounds to me like you're more concerned about how you are going to buy your next Merc ML 500 or BMW X6 and still afford that mansion in Sandhurst if membership income is reduced....but that's just me thinking out aloud.

  • peter.fraser.92754 - 2012-08-25 19:33


  • johan.jacobs.5680 - 2012-08-25 20:01

    He doesn't like opposition.

  • tony.vanniekerk.35 - 2012-08-25 20:31

    The ANC has split and will split again. The same is playing out within the ranks of COSATU. Democracy at work. As the population awakes, so will the ANC's support and that of its alliance weaken.

  • vivian.harris.73 - 2012-08-26 11:20

    That's because they actually there for the members and not there to exploit them to fill their own pockets Mr Vavi

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