Cape Town – South Africa already has four trade unions, the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) said on Tuesday as “nine-plus” unions gear up to form a new independent labour federation.
Fedusa general secretary Dennis George said that, while Fedusa respected the constitutional rights of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and the “nine-plus” unions to form the labour federation, SA already had four trade union federations, namely Cosatu, Consawu, Fedusa, and Nactu.
“Fedusa calls on all workers to strive for unity, trade union independence and to exercise their constitutional rights to join established trade unions that are operating in the industries, where they are employed,” he said.
Cope on Tuesday welcomed the launch of the new labour federation saying: "since its inception Cope has steadfastly maintained that trade unions must be independent and not be integrally linked to any political party".
"The main responsibility of a labour movement is to look after the interest of workers on the work floor and not to become an appendage of a political party," Cope spokesperson Dennis Bloem said in a statement.
On January 20 Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said the new workers’ party was still on course.
Speaking at a media conference in Johannesburg, Jim said Numsa would align itself with “a crystallised” political organisation.
He said the union’s objective is to build “a mass based, democratically controlled, Marxist-Leninist workers’ party, which will destroy the whole capitalist system and replace it with a socialist society in which the country’s wealth is owned, controlled and managed democratically by the majority of the people”.
“The current Cosatu leadership today unconvincingly complain about the new retirement amendment laws and about being sidelined, but they have ignored the evidence which made Numsa abandon the ANC and its alliance,” Jim said.