Labour

Labour-Community Alliances Must Be Strengthened

Picture credit: All-free-download.com Dale T. McKinley - Messy alliance politics are clouding issues in the run up to the 2014 general election, but community organisations and other civil society formations across the country have welcomed promising moves by National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) to forge an independent and anti-capitalist united front of the broad working class. For the first time in the history of a democratic South Africa, a COSATU-aligned union, and its largest one at that, has openly declared that it no...

Forging a New Movement: NUMSA and the Shift in SA Politics

Picture credit: General Secretary of Numsa, Irvin Jim courtesy You Tube screengrab. Leonard Gentle - The decision of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) to cut ties with the African National Congress (ANC) has received poor analysis. Comment has tended to focus on the possibility of a new political party in 2019 or whether all this means that Zwelenzima Vavi will get his job back. As such, the greater significance of the biggest trade union in the country throwing in its lot with a growing movement in opposition to the neo-liberal order, and thus to the left of the...

The Enduring Appeal of Socialist Ideas

Picture credit: General secretary of Numsa, Irvin Jim courtesy You Tube. Jane Duncan - At its special national congress last month, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) took a significant decision not to support the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in the next elections. Numsa is the largest union affiliated to the troubled Congress of South African Trade Unions, and its clout is considerable, so its decision is a turning point for the country’s politics. Numsa supports socialist ideas and, as a result, at the congress, it resolved to...

Numsa v SACP

Picture credit: Blade Nzimande/SACP and Irvin Jim/Numsa Richard Pithouse - As Numsa head towards their special congress in Boksburg next week the tensions within Cosatu, and between Numsa and the SACP, are exploding. The critical question that is up for debate at the congress is whether or not the union should break with the ANC and support another party or set up its own party. If the union does decide to break with the ANC and set up a workers’ party its political credibility, solid organisational base and capacity to generate its own resources from its...

COSATU Should Rebuild Unity on a Workers' Agenda

Picture credit: Suspended COSATU Secretary General Zwelizima Vavi, Jacob Zuma and COSATU President Sdumo Dlamini courtesy GovernmentZA/flickr. Frank Meintjies - The recent resignation by NUMSA president Cedric Gina is another rip in the fabric of the trade union federation, COSATU. Given that a breakup of COSATU will weaken labour’s voice as a counterpoint to the strength of capital and the state, this development again raises the question as to what is to be done to save the situation. By now, all those who follow current affairs are familiar with the features of the split. The broad pattern harks back to COSATU’s formation. The...

Strike Season: Union Blaming Misses the Point

Picture credit: Alternet Frank Meintjies - This has been a tough year as far as labour relations go. There have been numerous strikes and many of them have been characterised by violent clashes. The length of the strikes has also taken its toll. Companies, workers involved and members of the public have all faced the adverse effects of major labour conflicts. The wave of strike action has triggered another round of the blame game. A huge segment of the public blames unions for strikes. Many go further and accuse unions of damaging...