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Numsa expulsion an ‘attempt to divide working class’

Numsa was expelled from Africa’s largest trade union federation in the early hours of the morning.

Numsa was Cosatu’s largest affiliate with nearly three hundred and fifty thousand members. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Left Front (DLF) has described

the expulsion of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa)

from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) as an attempt to

divide the organised working class in the midst of more taxes and job cuts and

says the repercussions will be terrible.

Numsa was expelled from Africa's largest trade union

federation in the early hours of the morning by a vote of 33 to 24 after months

of infighting and a widening rift between the union and Cosatu bosses.

Numsa was Cosatu's largest affiliate with nearly three hundred

and fifty thousand members and was also backed by eight other unions in the Cosatu Central Executive Committee.

The move by the African National Congress-aligned labour federation may stir worker unrest and hurt the coalition that has ruled since apartheid ended in 1994.

Numsa was expelled at a special central executive committee meeting this weekend and says it will now meet with its leaders to decide if it should challenge this in court.

The expulsion follows two years of debilitating factional battles in the federation over the recruitment of each other's members and Numsa's withdrawal of support for the ANC.

Numsa, previously the biggest member of Cosatu which is seen as a powerful vote-winning machine which also makes significant financial contributions for elections, has regularly criticised President Jacob Zuma's administration.

The DLF's Brian Ashley says, "What we've seen is the division

of the organised working class at a time when government's just announced bigger

tax on workers. This is a time when you would want organised workers to be

united and to resist these attacks."

Ashley claims Numsa was chucked out of the federation

because its ally Zwelinzima Vavi refused to protect allegedly corrupt leaders.

"They've done it because they have been attacked by

Zwelinzima Vavi who hasn't protected them from being investigated for

corruption so we have comrades with serious allegations of

corruption levelled against them."

NUMSA TO CONSULT WITH OTHER COSATU AFFILIATES

Numsa's Irvin Jim says the union will now consult with the

eight Cosatu affiliates that supported its call for a special national

congress.

A briefing by the metalworkers union officials is due to take place tomorrow.

Jim says while worker unity has been dealt a blow it should mark the start of a

new revolution.

"It's a dark day for the unity of workers but it should activate a revolution

to move forward."

The meeting started at 10am yesterday but a decision was only taken shortly

after 1am this morning.

Jim says despite a lengthy presentation based on logic and facts, the

metalworkers union's rival faction in Cosatu has succeeded in booting out Numsa.

Click here to view Numsa's presentation.

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