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Workers easily misled - Cosatu

Sep 18 2012 13:04 Sapa

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Johannesburg - Workers are being easily misled by splinter unions, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Tuesday.

"(This raises) questions about the level of political education and organisational democracy in these unions," Vavi told delegates at the Congress of SA Trade Unions' (Cosatu) 11th national congress in Midrand, Johannesburg.

"Disgruntled leaders who have fallen foul of organisational discipline are mobilising support, using populist tactics and exploiting our organisational weaknesses."

He was referring to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and the National Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Natawu).

"We have seen the potentially devastating impact of opportunistic splinter groups on the unity of workers, most graphically seen recently with the activities of Amcu, set up by a former Num leader in opposition to Num," said Vavi.

Amcu leader Joseph Mathunjwa was the branch chairman of the National Union of Mineworkers (Num) at BHP Billiton.

Vavi was delivering the Cosatu political report on the second day of the conference.

A source of the trade federation's problems was the lack of union education programmes.

The focus of Cosatu's organisation-building culture was diminished, he said.

Only a quarter of union members in the workers' survey had participated in a union educational programme, and just over a half had attended a union meeting in the past year.

Only 6% of workers knew who their union president and general secretary were.

"This is a disaster," said Vavi.


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