Today's Labour News

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vavi1Amy Musgrave writes that the South African labour scene has a new labour federation on the way, but the pertinent question for many is how the federation will be different to Cosatu.  

It is the brainchild of axed Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, metalworkers’ union Numsa and a ragtag group of smaller unions.  A document prepared for the recent Workers’ Summit, where the new federation was sanctioned for launch next year, shows the influence Cosatu has had over the thinking of the authors, who only have praise for the Cosatu of yesteryear.  The new body is seen as “our only chance to turn the tide and revive the militancy of the young Cosatu by bringing together the workers from all federations, including Cosatu, all unions, non-union workers and the unemployed.”  Revival of militancy will thus probably be the immediate focus of the federation.  And while the founders speak of political non-alignment, this does not translate into a non-political stance.  It just means a rejection of Cosatu’s ANC-dominated politics.  

Meantime, organisers are already differing over some of the key founding principles, such the applicability of ‘one industry, one union – one country, one federation’.  But, perhaps the most immediate concern is money, which is likely to be the factor that determines the ability of the new body to take root and thrive in the longer term.

  • Read this interesting analysis in full at The Star
  • Read too, Vavi tells Ebrahim Harvey to get on board the new federation train, at M&G

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