Cape Town - Although expelled from Cosatu, the National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) will still have an input to forums such as Nedlac (National Economic Development and Labour Council) where labour is represented by three trade union federations.
The National Council of Trade Unions (Nactu) has agreed to liaise with Numsa and to put forward agreed positions.
This was made clear this weekend by Nactu president, Joseph Maqhekeni.
However, in an interview with Fin24 he stressed that this did not mean that Nactu and Numsa would be amalgamating.
“Numsa have made clear that there mandated position is to form a new federation,” he said.
His comments followed a speech on Friday by Cosatu general secretary S’dumo Dlamini at the SA Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union congress in Cape Town.
Dlamini claimed the expulsion of Numsa had had no deterimental effect on the labour movement or the ANC and had, in effect “strengthened Cosatu”.
“When you expel the largest union in the land and you are in alliance with the ruling party, of course it will affect you the ANC and the labour movement as a whole,” said Maqhekeni.
In forums such as Nedlac, Nactu and other delegates had felt that the absence of Numsa had had an adverse effect.
Confusion had also been caused throughout the labour movement and was made worse by the contradictory statements emanating from ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe and Dlamini, both of whom also served on the central committee of the SA Communist Party.
Mantashe, a former leader of the Cosatu-affiliated National Union of Mineworkers, had bewailed the expulsion of Numsa and had suggested the metalworkers‘ union be invited back to Cosatu.
“And now Dlamini says it doesn’t matter. It does and that is why we are working with Numsa,” said Maqhekeni.