Zuma praises Cosatu, ANC for workers' rights

Jacob Zuma says the ANC & Cosatu have worked hand in hand to improve and protect the rights of workers.

Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)’s May Day rally underway. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma says the African National Congress (ANC) and the Congress South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) have worked hand in hand for 30 years to improve and protect the rights of workers.

Zuma earlier spoke at a May Day Cosatu rally in Curries Fountain Stadium in Durban.

He says it's thanks to the partnership between the federation and the ANC that the current labour legislation is intact.

"We come from a proud tradition of unity and struggle forged in the trenches of our struggle for liberation."

He says the trade union federation has been the main driving force in fighting for the rights of workers and has brought workers the right to fair labour practices and strikes.

"There are laws which have been made to protect workers."

'MAY DAY NOT FOR COSATU ONLY'

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has told thousands of workers at its May Day rally in Johannesburg that today does not belong to Cosatu exclusively and a new home for workers must be built outside of the ANC.

Numsa has been joined by members from eight other Cosatu unions at its rally in the Johannesburg CBD which is being held separately from a Cosatu rally in Mohlakeng.

There are about 5,000 people at the Standard Bank arena, many of them wearing t-shirts with the slogan 'Don't mourn - organise'.

This is a reference to Cosatu's decision to expel Numsa and Zwelinzima Vavi who the eight tarde union federation's affiliates continue to support.

Numsa's president Andrew Chirwa says the current Cosatu leaders insist on pledging their unconditional support to the ANC while the ruling party continues to fail them.

He says workers must fight harder than ever before for an independent federation.

Chirwa says workers need a movement that is not compromised by business relationships between bosses and union leaders.