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Numsa to 'abandon' Cosatu

Numsa's national executive committee met at weekend to discuss the prospect of forming a federation.

FILE: Irvin Jim says the union has given up the fight against what he calls the 'leadership clique' currently running the trade union federation. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has decided to abandon its appeal to return to Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) at the federation's upcoming congress this month.

The metal workers union says it will also abandon a court bid to return to the umbrella body.

Numsa is South Africa's biggest trade union, with 365,000 members.

Numsa's national executive committee met in Johannesburg at weekend to discuss the prospect of forming a federation to counter Cosatu.

The metalworkers union's Irvin Jim says the union has given up the fight against what he calls the "leadership clique" currently running the trade union federation.

"If you read their report that is going to this ordinary conference, it says despite us not having being allowed to appeal but that special national congress has already endorsed the expulsion of Numsa."

Jim says Numsa will also no longer use workers' money to fight for its reinstatement.

"We cannot waste anymore workers' money inclined to get to court to force the federation to take us back when it is clear that Cosatu has been hijacked by the ANC-led alliance."

The union's decision to abandon the fight to return to Cosatu follows nearly three years of infighting that also saw its president leave to form his own organisation.

Numsa says it will now fast-track the process of forming a new federation confirming it's already in talks with unions including Association of Metalworkers and Construction Union and solidarity.

NUMSA EXPELLED FROM COSATU

Numsa was expelled from Cosatu last year, marking the first split of the worker federation since it was formed in 1985.

Numsa's exit from Cosatu was widely expected and the union walked out of the committee meeting after what it described as a restless debate.

But the metalworkers union had said it would not accept its expulsion without fighting it in court.

Jim insisted that the union's expulsion from Cosatu was predetermined.