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Cosatu to share stance on privatisation of SOEs after three-day meeting

Traditionally, the trade union federation has been vehemently opposed to any kind of privatisation.

FILE: Cosatu members strike against the country's high unemployment and the unbundling of Eskom on 13 February 2019. Picture: @_cosatu/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) is tackling the thorny issue of privatisation as its top committee wraps up a three-day meeting.

Traditionally, the trade union federation has been vehemently opposed to any kind of privatisation.

But the central executive committee meeting has been robustly debating that view.

Sources in Cosatu’s central executive committee have told Eyewitness News that while the federation has a long-standing anti-privatisation position, there was a strong call from unions to revisit the stance.

Some leaders described a need to reassess the environment in which the call is being made as it has become apparent that some public-owned entities are merely a burden on the fiscus.

While Cosatu’s congress resolution is opposed to privatisation, it affirmed that in some instances it will support equity partnerships if the government retains control.

However, it is understood that industrial unions, which are in the minority, rejected this alternative, citing possible job losses which would cause them to bleed members.

Those in support of privatisation had to contend with historic resolutions of the organisation including those made in the 1990s, advocating for nationalisation.

The federation will brief journalists on the outcomes of the meeting on Thursday.

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