Cosatu unions: Implementation of resolutions to go ahead

Affiliates say resolutions will go ahead with or without the help of the national leadership.

Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) house in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. Picture: Janice Healing/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - A collective of Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) unions has thrown down the gauntlett to their mother body saying a full implementation of the federation's congress resolutions will go ahead with or without the help of the national leadership.

The document proposes nationalisation of the country's economic centers, special interventions for the poor and the redistribution of land.

Seven affiliates aligned to expelled Cosatu union National Union of Metalworkers South Africa (Numsa) today announced a series of pickets and a potential mass stay away in a campaign in support of the Freedom Charter and to get labour issues discussed by workers on the shop-floor instead of in boardrooms with senior leadership.

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim says, "We have now resolved that workers must basically support these demands and take to the street at an appropriate time. We are sick and tired of meetings without the programs that workers and campaigns have mandated all of us as unions to take forward."

Unions announced that Friday's picket would mark the beginning of a campaign.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU)'s general secretary Aubrey Tshabalala explains.

"The leadership of the eight unions congratulated our comrades from Gauteng in their picketing they mounted on Friday in their positions to Numsa expulsion from Cosatu. This protest action is the beginning of what will become the rolling mass action in support of our program of demise."

The unions sided with Numsa and Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi during in-fighting that's left the federation in paralysis.

Numsa was voted out of the trade union federation by 33 votes to 24 and the decision has since exposed the rift between rival affiliates.