Labour

Numsa's United Front: Forward to the Past?

Picture credit: Numsa Jane Duncan - The country’s largest trade union federation, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), has expelled the National Union of Metalworkers’ of South Africa (Numsa), for not supporting the African National Congress (ANC). Anyone in South Africa who doesn’t know this news must have been living under a rock for the past week. Numsa has been exploring political alternatives for the past year. In its December 2013 congress, it decided to launch a United Front to...

Cosatu/Numsa Split Indicative of Deeper Structural Problems in SA Trade Union Sector

Picture credit: Numsa Video Back in March 2012, a good five months before the Marikana massacre exposed the internal weaknesses of the South African trade union sector, SACSIS’ Fazila Farouk interviewed labour expert, Ighsaan Schroeder, who said that Cosatu was well on its way to demise and could collapse within a mere 15 years due to serious structural weaknesses in the trade union sector. Soon after the Marikana massacre, Schroeder revised his prediction saying that he gives Cosatu just another five years before...

The Political Significance of Numsa's Expulsion from Cosatu

Picture credit: Irvin Jim, NUMSA Dale T. McKinley - It is arguably the most important political development of South Africa’s post-1994 era. On Friday, South Africa’s largest union, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) was expelled by the majority of the leadership belonging to South Africa’s largest union federation, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). The political significance of NUMSA’s expulsion derives from three key, inter-related areas of impact. On the ANC-Led...

Sometimes It's Better Not to Overstay One's Visit: Once More on NUMSA and the Demise of COSATU

Picture credit: Zwelinzima Vavi, General Secretary of Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and Irvin Jim, General Secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa Leonard Gentle - The COSATU Central Executive Committee (CEC), the decision-making body of affiliate leaders, which meets between the more representative Congresses and Central Committees, held a meeting last week to decide on the fate of its biggest affiliate, the National Union of Metalworkers (NUMSA) and to discuss the report of its General Secretary, Zwelenzima Vavi, himself the subject of dispute. This CEC was the consequence of a decision at a postponed CEC in April this year at which time the ANC...

Overworked, Underpaid and In Your House: The Never Ending Exploitation of South Africa's Domestic Workers

Picture credit: Sharon Mollerus/flickr Video They are important drivers of the South African economy, yet domestic workers are still amongst the lowest paid workers today. Their fate was sealed during the apartheid era when “kitchen girls” were just servants with no workplace rights. Little has changed in post-apartheid South Africa we learn from Myrtle Witbooi, the general secretary of South Africa’s domestic workers’ union. Domestic work is still not considered decent work. Poor enforcement of regulations and...

Study Reveals Preference for Foreign Black Migrants in Some Sectors of South African Economy

Picture credit: Waiter courtesy Franschhoek Wine Valley/flickr Saliem Fakir - In the city where I live, Cape Town, it’s not unusual to hear a foreign accent or see a foreigner. Foreigners are part of the intricate web, not only of the Cape’s economy, but also of the rest of South Africa. Foreigners arouse one’s curiosity. Some are treated better than others, but there are always questions in people’s minds - how did they make their entry into South Africa? Where did they come from? Why did they come here? Who employs them? Despite our talk...