‘Those in power will only listen to a new federation’

Irvin Jim says workers need to be lured away from Cosatu in order to challenge the state adequately.

FILE: Numsa General Secretary Irvin Jim. Picture: Giovanna Gerbi/EWN.

TEMBISA - General Secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has told the alternative Workers Day celebration in Tembisa that the state and those in power will not listen to their demands unless public sector workers are organised in a new federation.

The celebration is being attended by Numsa, the National Council of Trade Unions (Nactu) as well as at least 20 other smaller unions who yesterday gathered in Boksburg for South Africa's first ever workers summit.

Together, the unions hope to form a broad labour front, which will represent all workers in South Africa.

Irvin Jim has continued his onslaught against the tripartite alliance which started during Numsa's expulsion from Cosatu.

He says public sector workers need to be lured away from Cosatu in order to challenge the state adequately.

"They are not going to listen if this new federation is not going to call on workers in the public service and in the country to join the call of demanding change. We want change now."

Jim says members of the unions that remain in Cosatu are unorganised.

"Those workers must leave Cosatu union we got all the menu here so why must they have a president who has no clue of what is the state of South African economy."

The event was also addressed by representatives of all the smaller unions and Zwelinzima Vavi, who is leading the new initiative.

There are about 5,000 workers at the Mehlareng stadium in Tembisa for the alternative Workers Day celebrations.

National Transport Union's General Secretary Ephraim Mphahlele says they are forging ahead with building unity.

"This weekend is a turning point for unity of all South African workers. From here going forward, we will be working hard to unify all South African workers, for them to be represented by one revolutionary voice."

President of Nactu Joseph Maqhekeni says more than 20 of their affiliates are willing to consolidate worker unity.