The enduring 730 000 strong South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) has yet again applied to affiliate to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC)
NEDLAC executive had previously blocked our participation to the body using lousy bureaucratic excuses such as that we must have existed for more than two years before applying and that we must have audited statements for the same period.
These were new requirements specially designed to keep a representative and legitimate federation out. Those who supported this should have known that two years is not two hundred years. That two years have now lapsed! We have submitted audited statements covering the two years of our existence. What more excuses can NEDLAC come up with to block hundreds of workers from participating just because they do not comply with the current political arrangement that has produced the current crisis for the working class?
We are encouraged that the political environment has somewhat changed with the appointment of a new Minister of Employment and Labour, Minister Thulas Nxesi. Minister Nxesi has publicly and on numerous occasions made it clear that NEDLAC cannot enjoy legitimacy if it keeps outside of its ranks legitimate and representative bodies such as SAFTU.
We believe that NEDLAC should indeed be South Africa’s apex social dialogue structure, and it should encourage consensus between different class forces on social policy. Our application is consistent with our struggle to ameliorate our right to existence.
It’s no gainsaying that we are the 2nd largest trade federation in the country with 30 affiliated unions.
Our continued exclusion from this apex body makes a mockery of the policies passed without our much-needed input.
SAFTU has unashamedly built itself into a fundamentally different type of workers organisation. We are independent, democratic and campaigning federation. But we are not apolitical. We are socialist orientated, internationalist, Pan Africanist from an internationalist perspective.
We believe that South Africa must go through a thorough and fundamental transformation to change its economy from being extraction-based and semi-colonial into a genuinely inclusive and industrialising economy in which the current crisis where majority mainly the formerly black majority has no access to land and property.
It’s a common course that SAFTU supported the national minimum wage, but it also insisted that it must make a meaningful contribution to address the poverty of the millions of workers and must close the apartheid wage gap and structure.