Fawu, Saccawu break ranks from Cosatu

The unions took part in a briefing with Zwelinzima Vavi, Numsa and other unions that broke away from Cosatu.

FILE: Zwelinzima Vavi, through a camera viewfinder, he says he won't be appealing his Cosatu dismissal. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - While Congress of South African trade Unions (Cosatu) said it's emerged from its national congress as a united federation, leaders of at least two affiliates have once again broken ranks, saying the congress was a farce and undemocratic.

The unions are Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) and the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (Saccawu) which took part in heated exchanges with the Cosatu leadership at the congress last month, over the expulsion of Numsa and dismissal of Zwelinzima Vavi.

Yesterday, they took part in a briefing with Vavi and Numsa, along with the leaders of unions which broke away from affiliates in Cosatu.

Fawu president Atwell Nazo said the congress suppressed democracy.

"Those who were talking in that congress are the members of the central executive committee. Members from all these affiliates were unable to express themselves, it was the repetition of the CEC and you'd and appeal and you'll still find the same situation."

Vavi was joined by four unions and five so-called splinter unions, to reflect on Cosatu's congress and the road ahead.

He and Numsa have previously called for an alternative federation and say this will be decided at the workers summit early next year.

Vavi said a number of unions from different sectors are already taking part in preparations for the workers' summit.

"About 16 other independent unions forms part of the steering committee that is currently preparing."

But Vavi said the Cosatu leadership is not able to hear their cries for unity due to behind the scenes leadership battles.

"We need most of the 173 registered unions, including Cosatu to form part of the process to work with the steering committee. The invitation is open."

The summit is expected to take place early next year.