UNIONS working towards establishing a new hegemony in the organised labour movement in SA will hold a workers’ summit at the end of April, where it is hoped a decision will be reached to formally constitute a new trade union federation. More than 40 trade unions had agreed to send 3,000 delegates to the Workers Summit at the end of April, where a resolution to launch a new labour federation and elect interim leadership could be taken, summit convener Zwelinzima Vavi said during a briefing in Johannesburg on Tuesday. A May Day celebration would then be held to announce the federation and launch a campaign against job losses across sectors, although the formal launch could take three to four months and full construction of the federation some years, he said.
New union federation could be formed at Workers Summit: Report by BY KARL GERNETZKY, 12 APRIL 2016, 14:36.
While there was agreement that SA was facing political crises, there was frustration that the country was “preoccupied” by them and “the issues of workers have completely fallen off the agenda”.
“Our aim is to firmly put on the agenda the real crisis of society, in that we have 8.3-million unemployed, a 60% youth unemployment rate, we are the most unequal society on earth and that corruption is running rampant,” he said.
“We are confident that a new trade union federation can be born that is not chronically compromised by its allegiance to a discredited presidency or an anti-working class bourgeoisie parliament,” he said.
Union leaders at the briefing could not immediately provide the names of the all unions expected to participate. The unions that were expected to send delegates included some unions still within Cosatu, newly formed unions such as the Finance Union of Workers, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA.
The National Council of Trade Unions (Nactu) and Solidarity were also participating but were still considering their levels of participation. Solidarity said on Tuesday its support was conditional and that it supported trade union unity and joint campaigning on issues.