Numsa calls union divide 'temporary'

Numsa says the division from Cosatu is not what was intended when the debate within Cosatu started.

FILE: Numsa held a separate May Day rally in Johannesburg yesterday while Cosatu's affiliates gathered in Mohlakeng on the West Rand. Picture: Aletta Garner/ EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) says the current divide between unions in South Africa is only temporary and has called on workers to take control of their organisations and stop allowing leaders to bully them.

Numsa held a separate May Day rally in Johannesburg yesterday while Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)'s affiliates gathered in Mohlakeng on the West Rand.

Despite this, several Cosatu members attended the Numsa gathering and the union says this is an indication that workers can rise above politics.

The metalworkers' union president Andrew Chirwa says the current fragmentation in the labour movement is not what was intended when the debate within Cosatu started.

"It's a set back and a capitalist strategy to divide us."

But Chirwa says workers have the power to change this and unite across all factions.

"We will succeed if we remain focused on the revolutionary agenda which is with the worker's agenda."

He told workers that they have no choice but to continue with the struggle and was loudly applauded throughout his speech.

PATRICK CRAVEN: NO CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION TODAY

Yesterday former Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said the rally is no cause for celebration.

Referring to high levels of unemployment in the country, Craven argued divisions in the union are regressive and are a direct attack on the workers' movement.

Last month, he announced his departure from the trade union federation after serving the federation for nearly 15 years.

Despite his resignation, Craven added that he is still working towards the principles that Cosatu has established.