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SAFTU NEC to meet

The South African Federation of Trade Unions will be holding a meeting of its National Executive Committee from 20-22 November 2018. Among the many important issue to be discussed are:

Jobs crisis

As SAFTU predicted, the Jobs Summit was a meaningless charade, at which government and business made false promises to create hundreds of new jobs which they knew would never materialise.

The federation was fully justified to refuse to attend this sham and to condemn those union federations who put their names to a declaration which was agreed in advance by business and government and was motivated solely by a desire to “tell a good story” to appease credit rating agencies and international capitalist investors.

The reality is that the jobless bloodbath is continuing and accelerating, as shown by the latest StatsSA report for the third quarter of 2018, that the expanded figure for unemployment has risen to 37.3%, still one of the six highest ninth world.

The empty rhetoric about halting retrenchments has already been exposed by threats to thousands more since the Summit met:

  • SABC wants to retrench 98 employees and get rid of 1200 free lancers.
  • Lonmin has proposed 12 459 job cuts, including contractors, over the next three years, on top of the 2000 it has already retrenched this year.
  • Gold Fields is to get rid of 1500 mining jobs
  • SAA’s 10 017 workers’ jobs are at risk if the Finance Minister has his way and government shuts down the national carrier.
  • Standard Bank is to fire 526 IT staff.
  • Worst of all the government is hell-bent on privatising electricity generation to independent power producers, which jeopardizes the jobs of 92 000 mining and energy workers, concentrated in Mpumalanga.


Political crisis

Saftu has been proved correct in predicting that the appointment of President Ramaphosa would not usher in a ‘new dawn’ but mean more of the same misery of high unemployment, grinding poverty and widening inequality. This was proved by both his ‘stimulus plan’ and Tito Mboweni’s MTBPS, both of which repeated the government’s determination to stick with the failed neoliberal free-market polices of their predecessors.

The ruling ANC is now irretrievably divided and dysfunctional and neither of its factions has any solution to the catastrophe for which their own governments are responsible.

The NEC will debate how best we can mobile a fightback against the pro-business agenda of the ANC government and big business.

Outsourcing and national minimum wage

Affiliates have won important court victories to force employers to comply with the Constitutional Court judgment in the case brought by NUMSA to reaffirm the legal obligations to insource the jobs of workers outsourced to labour brokers after three months.

SAFTU warns however that where workers are not well organized in unions, employers will continue to flout the law and workers will still be exploited by these human traffickers.

The poverty national minimum wages of R20, R18, R15 and R11, which are still yet to be introduced, are worth even less than in 2016 when sweetheart unions shamefully signed off on the deal, as a result of all the increased prices, especially of fuel, and the rise in VAT. R20 an hour or even less, will condemn million of workers to poverty.

Working-Class summit

The meeting will also discuss how to take forward the historic agreement at the Working-Class Summit (WCS) to bring together the trade union movement, community activists, civic society and small businesses into a united struggle against the poverty and inequality which affects employed and unemployed workers and the communities where they live.

The very next day after the NEC meeting there will be a meeting of the organizations who attended the WCS to take forward its decisions, in particular the call for a three days total shut down of the economy.

This will involve an occupation of the major cities for three days, staggered over a period, possible targeting the budget day speech, the president’s state of the nation address and the 2019 elections.

Campaigns

The NEC will also take forward decisions of both the recent SAFTU special Central Committee meeting the Working-Class Summit on campaigns to be waged and to resolve how to implement them. They include:

  • A living national minimum wage and opposition to the poverty minimum wage
  • Total banning of  labour brokers  
  • Against outsourcing and casualisation of work
  • Against corruption
  • Against the labour law amendments which effectively ban strike and pickets


Recruitment

We shall discuss progress in the urgent task of reaching and recruiting the 76% of workers who are not members of any union, casual workers and those working for labour brokers.

Education

The NEC will debate how we are going to revive the traditions of worker education and training, which is linked to recruitment, capacity building and building the organisation.

Communication

Towards SAFTU Radio: The NEC will look author to implement the SCC decision to produce packages that could be distributed to the over 200 community radio stations that exist plus commercial radio stations, the SABC radio platforms.

New affiliates

The NEC will discuss applications for affiliation from five unions

Nedlac

The NEC will receive a report on a possible legal challenge on Nedlac’s new rule that states that SAFTU must have existed for two years before it is allowed to participate in the Nedlac.  Nedlac has written us a letter recently reaffirm this.

Working-class party

The NEC will continue a discussion on SAFTU’s attitude to the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party.