New Trade Union Federation to be launched in April

Zwelinzima Vavi says the founding congress of the new federation will be held from 21 to 23 April.

FILE: Zwelinzima Vavi. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The New Trade Union Federation spearheaded by Zwelinzima Vavi will officially launch in April with 21 unions under its umbrella.

The federation’s steering committee held a briefing in Johannesburg earlier on Wednesday.

Vavi says the founding congress of the new federation will be held from 21 to 23 April.

“The congress will be attended by 1,800 delegates from 21 unions, representing 684,865 members.”

He says there are some unions that have not formally joined the new federation but will also be attending.

“Seventeen other unions who have not obtained mandate to form part of the new federation, but who have actively participated in process to form it, will be invited.”

The congress is expected to elect the leadership for the federation and also finalise its constitution, logo, colours and name.


Vavi says his new federation doesn’t support anyone in the African National Congress (ANC) to take over as the party’s next president, and he’s criticised Cosatu for coming out in support of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, saying its political ambitions have clouded its judgement.

He was the general secretary of Cosatu when it endorsed President Jacob Zuma back in 2007.

“For them to go to cabinet and to Members of Parliament, it will depend on whether Ramaphosa’s fortunes are realised.”

Vavi says his new labour federation is not interested in who becomes the next ANC president.

“All of them are as guilty as charged that they allowed R250 million to be spent on somebody’s house.”

He says while his federation will not be apolitical, it's focus will be mainly on issues facing workers.