#Cosatu concludes its Central Committee, attended by affiliated trade unions on a Zoom Virtual Platform
Taking COSATU Today Forward
‘Whoever sides with the revolutionary people in deed as well as in word is a revolutionary in the full sense’-Maoo
Our side of the story
Thursday, 23 September 2021
‘Deepen the Back to Basics Campaign, Consolidate the Struggle for the NDR and Advance the Struggle for Socialism’
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COSATU Free State mourns the passing of two farmworkers after sustaining burns in a Fauriesmith veldfire
COSATU Free State mourns the passing of Ncamile Mjika and Pule Booysen, dedicated farmworkers whose sins were to obey and instruction from their employer.
They were given an instruction to bring a veldfire under control and sustained extensive burns when the fire cornered them onto a farm fence.
They attempted to get out of harm’s way however one got his clothes entangled in the fence. The deadly flames engulfed him, and he suffered extensive burns. The other worker later passed on in hospital.
The dedicated farmworkers who were only trying to provide for the families and had obeyed an instruction of their employer to fight the flames of the veldfire.
May his should rest in eternal peace.
We take this opportunity to relay our condolences with his family and loved ones.
We continue to hold a firm belief that selling our labour is never a matter of choice for the members of the working class, it is the means for survival! We are forced to sell our labour because of structural violence that has been unleashed upon us by the greedy and exploitative capitalist system.
It was whilst in the process of selling their labour that the two workers met their untimely death!
We note that in the same breath some employers continue to prioritize profits over the safety of their employees as if workers were just tools and not humans.
The issue of Occupational Health and Safety remains a thorny issue to this day, and it is quite disturbing that many employers continue to take it for granted.
We have raised the matter with Department of Employment and Labour, and we will be engaging in an awareness and enforcement campaign to ensure compliance with Occupational Health and Safety measures.
We will continue our struggle to ensure that workers are safe in the workplace as there is no job that is so important that it may be performed in an unsafe manner
Issued by COSATU Free State
SATUCC Solidarity Message by Comrade Mavis Anna Koogotsitse to the COSATU 7th Central Committee Meeting
“Deepen the Back to Basics Campaign, Consolidate the struggle for the NDR & Advance the Struggle for Socialism”
20 – 23 September, 2021
On behalf of the Leadership of SATUCC and its members, I bring a message of support to the Leadership of COSATU, Affiliates, Women & Youth Structures, guests and friend of COSATU, Fraternal Greetings to you all!
Comrades, Brothers and Sisters, I am speaking from the Secretariat based in Gaborone Botswana, we represent 22 Trade Union Federations in Southern Africa, provide a voice and advocates for protection of workers and human rights to achieve decent work for all but also our role is to propel member States in the region to transition to democracy, and that democracy is sustained and its gains are not lost.
This meeting takes place under extra ordinary circumstances where the world continues to grapple with new variants of COVID – 19 which is not only claiming human lives, but also bringing even giant economies to their knees.
There is still so much uncertainty regarding medium to long term impact of COVID-19 and we may all recall that even before COVID-19 emerged, there continued to be a disconnect between growth and employment in our nations such that high unemployment and working poverty prevailed as major obstacles to socio-economic development.
This comrades, has implications on the future of work.
It goes without saying that the Trade union movement has been under attack even before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic; which has now worsened the situation for workers and trade unions; but at the same time the pandemic has given trade unions an opportunity to revisit our strategies and the way we operate in servicing our members.
With the world of work changing, trade unions need to change too, and therefore the Theme for this meeting could not have been more befitting as we “Deepen the Back to Basics Campaign”.
Advancing the struggle for Socialism as has been the focus of your discussions for the past three days is critical to the future of work and the role of trade unions not only in Southern Africa, but the world as a whole.
The world economic crisis continues to deepen and has led to problems in the exercise of the collective rights of workers and a further marginalisation of the principles of social partnership and the roles of trade unions.
Perhaps, we need to look back and remind ourselves of the early years of trade unionism which were marked by the struggle for freedom and trade union organisation and association.
Observing the path of this process, we can all agree comrades that it has been a struggle from day 1 and the struggle continues to date. In opting for freedom of association, it was necessary to define the objectives of that association, which is still an important task of any trade union.
While pondering on the new normal and the future of work, the union still has an important place and a role to play in achieving the interests and rights of workers, but there is need to come up with new strategies for re-organising ourselves and building stronger collectively.
We need to start with re-looking at our models for organising and basic trade union education, the union should generate a new awareness and a new generation of trade union leaders who understand that for trade unions to remain relevant, significant and effective, we must look beyond the traditional workplace, be all inclusive taking on board the most vulnerable in our societies for example migrant workers, youth, women, small traders and the informal economy and build and organisation with functions which must correspond to the new economic conditions.
We all know that people move or migrate to search for better opportunities and whether it is within the provinces in a country or across borders.
We understand the plight of migrant workers and that in South Africa especially this has become a challenge as you receive quite a large number of migrants not only from the sub region but from across the continent.
Therefore, as SATUCC we will continue to raise our voice and speak for the protection of all workers regardless of nationality and immigration status and we are calling all our affiliates to embrace this and be inclusive in our own policies and
Young workers and youth not only in South Africa but across the SADC region are faced with numerous challenges such as unemployment, unaffordable education, lack of access to social security’, excessive poverty, forced mobility (migration) due to limited opportunities, skills mismatch, child marriages, sexual abuse of young women, exclusion, politicisation of opportunities, pressures of 24-hour social networking, drug abuse, crime, workplace abuses, among others.
As Trade unions we should concentrate on developing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating policies, projects and programs on youth in our various countries and hence we are collaborating with ITUC-Africa/Union to Union in part implementing a project on Increasing youth awareness and mobilization around labour standards and trade union rights in the Southern Africa region.
13 of the 16 southern Africa countries have a youth representative in this project that ensures the youth interests are represented region wide.
Organising and targeting the youth, we should find relevant platforms to use for youth sensatization about relevant policies, projects and programmes through various Medias especially social media (Whatsapp groups, Twitter, Facebook etc).
Therefore, trade unions must fully take advantage of the fact that young workers are well versed with the internet which also provides a fast and cost effective medium for discussions among themselves.
These social media platforms can be utilized by trade unions to sharpen opinions of young workers and also to monitor and evaluate trade union work while offering their candid opinions on what should be done. It is now the right time to put these social media platforms to best use.
We know that trade unions are inevitably challenged by digital technologies, in relation to outreach and communications strategies. In fact, as online and offline realities become increasingly intertwined, our presence as organized labor within the Internet’s current networked environment is unavoidable.
It is evident that the youths are more detached from trade union programs not because of culture or mere disinterest but because even where there are youth structures the youth may be fully engaged in activities but they aren’t really involved in the formulation and decision making processes.
Let’s start to utilize our youths in a positive and progressive manner and we can be guaranteed that they will be the genesis of strong and resilient trade institutions of the future.
It cannot be overemphasised enough the need to have social contracts around how to protect jobs and making sure that as trade unions we do not lose our membership. In terms of job protection we are looking at incidents in the event that a company want to retrench, what is the active involvement of trade unions in trying to make sure we limit retrenchments and protect workers in the workplace.
What is it that we can put forward as trade unions to bargain and use as leverage in safe guarding jobs?
Health and Safety
Health and Safety continues to be very paramount and there is need for trade unions to be involved in continuous monitoring of implementation of health and safety regulations which are key to trade unions in responding to this pandemic because what would be the point of having economic growth in a dying economy/society with the majority of the workforce affected and infected by COVId-19 and still be expected to be highly productive?
Therefore, it is important for trade unions to make close follow-up and ensure that issues of safety and health are implemented and adhered to and protect workers themselves.
It is not just about economic growth and recovery but it is also about protecting the worker and by extension families and preserving livelihoods.
Trade Unions will need to be actively involved in the national post Covid 19 strategies for recovery and participate in the distribution of the vaccine and PPEs.
Focus on ICT
The use of ICTs has grown over the years and has become an integral part of organizational development.
With COVID-19 and having to work from home and reach members virtually, it is important to mobilize resources and upgrade information technology infrastructure for the Secretariats as well as the national centres.
SATUCC has been urging its Affiliates to build accurate, up to date and easy accessible membership database, thus developing an integrated information management system.
The database will link all SATUCC Affiliates as well as national level affiliates and members.
This will ensure that the affiliates have access to information (gender disaggregated- sex, age, disability, as well as information on migrant workers among others at the click of the mouse).
Research should be undertaken, which aims to draw attention to trade union uptake of digital technologies, especially social media platforms, as a potential element to support implementation of strategies, to revitalizing organized labor’s reach and influence- grassroots organizing, coalition building, and connecting labor issues with a broader social and environmental justice agenda.
There is also a need to revamp our websites to make them more interactive and user friendly. This is even more important as we implement at the Regional level the SADC Labour Market Observatory.
Since the adoption of the historic Paris Agreement in 2015 at COP 21, countries globally are now seized with implementing strategies towards green economies and the creation of green jobs.
At the heart of greening the economy is the issue of creation of green jobs in economic sectors that have the potential to do so, such as agriculture, manufacturing, energy, tourism, among others.
Trade unions globally have begun exploring the issue of green jobs, undertaking campaigns on green jobs and actively participating in national, regional and international platforms discussing green jobs.
Other governments have also started documenting green jobs created in various sectors of their economies.
For SADC, the discussions about creation of green and more so decent jobs are relatively new (for some countries) but presents an opportunity to address the challenge of high unemployment especially among the youths, low levels of sustainable formal enterprises, limited entrepreneurship development and unsustainable production processes of SMEs.
The region has abundant renewable energy resources which however, largely remains untapped.
The role of trade unions in the region on promoting green jobs and just transition has not been fully documented and their policy positions not heard.
Thus, is in this regard trade unions in region and SATUCC need to be proactive and actively take part in the green jobs discourse as well as advocating for the creation of not only green jobs but green and decent jobs.
Trade Unions need to put more concerted effort on lobbying and advocacy for Ratification and Domestication of Convention C190 and R206
As agreed in the SADC ELS, there is need for Member States to implement the Decent Work Country programmes and we urge you to make sure you are fully involved in this process.
Decent work is important as it also ties in with Workers Education which include skills in collective bargaining and problem solving, to adequately represent the interest of our members both at shopfloor right up to tripartite level, and we should be able to relate on equal strength with the other partners (Governments and Employers).
Collective bargaining continues to face serious internal and external obstacles to its development.
In spite the entrenchment of bargaining as key in some industries, there are cases of employer’s unwillingness to recognize unions.
We need to as well continue to intensify the campaign and launch of SDGs – Time for 8 and full participation in the development of Decent Work Country programs.
We need to understand the role we play in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Frameworks (CFs) at national level.
It is important for us as trade unions to know and understand how we can promote the ILO normative agenda, International Labour Standards, decent work priorities as well as the national development strategies in line with the global sustainable development agenda 2030 (SDGs).
As we may recall Trade unions were involved in the Millennium Development Goals and it is the post-2015 process that led to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
We all need to take part in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda as it unfolds nationally, at the regional level, we work as a tripartite with SADC Ministers of Employment and Labour and Social partners where we contribute to development of these policies and frameworks as well as monitoring and evaluation as to whether the implementation is efficient and effective. It is important therefore that our affiliates understand these processes.
Where you fall short we are committed as SATUCC to ensure that our affiliates are capacitated and given the skills they need to be able to engage in these high level meetings to influence policy debates and improve the coordination and effectiveness of trade union development cooperation activities with the relevant UN structures together with the assistance of the ILO.
We are currently undertaking research to Review the impacts of the Africa Continental Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) on decent work, labour migration and employment creation at the SADC region level.
The AfCFTA entered into force on 30th May 2019 after the deposit of the 22nd instrument of ratification by the Saharawi Republic to the African Union Commissioner for trade and industry. Trading under the AfCFTA was expected to commence on 1st July 2020.
The Agreement is expected to boost intra-African trade by eliminating import duties, and to double trade by reducing non-tariff barriers.
The research will help us Determine the extent to which labour provisions are provided for in the AfCFTA and how they can strengthen the framework conditions for decent work;
Assess the provisions for involvement of trade unions in the implementation of the AfCFTA and identify the main entry points; and,
Identify and where possible quantify risks with regard to job destruction, worker replacement, off-shoring or other adverse labour market effects that may be caused by the AfCFTA implementation.
Undertake training of researchers and trade union leaders form Affiliates on the AfCFTA;
Develop national and regional action plans for the protection of workers’ rights during the implementation of the AfCFTA; and,
Build capacities for affiliate union researchers to undertake country analysis on the impact of the AfCFTA on labour.
Develop an advocacy/campaign to ensure that the trade unions are involved in the implementation of the AfCFTA both at the regional and continental level
The foregoing issues are of critical importance to trade unions throughout the sub regions, and can be the subject of regional cooperation.
We thank COSATU on the border activities during the global week of action in solidarity with the people of Eswatini in their campaign for democracy to guarantee social rights and equality.
Democracy will ensure that every citizen has the right to vote, and hence create social stability among the people of Eswatini, a democracy which will also assure them of access to other services like security, education, property rights, and healthcare facilities.
We salute the workers and people of Eswatini for their demonstration of bravery and selflessness and as one people in the SADC region, we at SATUCC collectively support the efforts of our comrades in Eswatini.
This brings me to the issue of internal governance and democratic accountability. As far as unions are concerned, we may only conclude by pointing at the problems, which are alarming and which require attention. In the existing environment, which is not at all conducive to unions, the key issues for any union cannot be entrusted only to union leaders.
Our strength and power as trade unions lies on our membership, a large number of active members guarantees opportunities to organise union actions in the fight for the rights of workers, as well as fostering of union financial independence through membership subscription dues to sustain the operations of the union both at national and regional level.
For this reason, the ability to gain and keep members is crucial, because an organisation which does not grow, only stagnates and may finally cease to exist. We need to be accountable to our members and ensure we adhere to the very constitutions that govern and legitimise our existence.
We would have liked to see more of internal organizational cohesion within the trade union movement; a cohesion which to me, seems indispensable if the role of labour in social and economic transformation is to have greater significance.
Some of the union movements in the region are faced with internal division and squabbles to the extent that their ability to effectively protect and promote members interests is severely hampered; let alone being able to effectively deal with issues of national socio-economic development.
We must speak openly about these issues comrades because if we do not lay a foundation on how to address these internal organizational anomalies, they will continue to undermine whatever role unions can play in improving the socio-economic life of our members.
It goes without saying that when unions are thus divided, they can hardly use tripartite means to advance the interest of protecting workers.
If we take these issues lightly and do not openly discuss and are honest about our shortcomings, then we would fail dismally as leaders and we would have failed the young generation.
In conclusion, Comrades, let us seriously think of the new strategies to implement during and post the pandemic, which will lead to the full-actualization of the mandate of the trade unions and workers.
Let us gear-up and be ready to concentrate collective actions of solidarity that unite us to build back stronger as trade unions and as workers.
Viva COSATU Viva!
COSATU Free State welcomes the prosecution of the former Mayor of Nketoane Municipality
COSATU Free State has learned with relief the conviction and sentencing of the former Mayor of Nketoana Municipality and an accomplice on fraud and corruption charges.
Their conviction originates from an incident which took place during 2011 where a whistle blower reported alleged tender fraud and corruption committed at Nketoane Local Municipality. Allegations of fraud and corruption have been made regarding the installation of equipment in the parks, where incorrect procurement procedures were followed.
COSATU has been calling for the prosecution of the perpetrators of corruption regardless of the positions they occupy.
We firmly believe that the certainty about punishment for acts of fraud and corruption will act as a deterrent for those who may be harbouring intentions of engaging in acts of corruption.
We welcome the judgement and are eagerly awaiting other cases to be concluded with successful prosecutions.
The reality however is that prosecution alone is not enough and we will also need to recovery and redistribution to the rightful beneficiaries of the looted funds.
We will continue with our campaign against acts of corruption and that all those who engaged themselves in such acts should prosecuted.
Issued by COSATU Free State
23 September, 2021
When Salcomp Turkey, who produces smart phones for Chinese Xiaomi, the second largest smartphone maker in the world, fired 170 workers for joining a union, the union members took action. After six days, Salcomp agreed to reinstate all dismissed workers.
Last month, workers at Salcomp decided to join IndustriALL Global Union affiliate Turk Metal. In return, company management launched a union busting campaign; workers were intimidated, threatened and 170 union members were dismissed. Around 80 per cent of the dismissed workers are women.
When workers protested against the union busting on company grounds, management responded by locking all doors. According to reports, workers inside the factory were not allowed to use the toilets and were banned from using use their mobile phones, cutting off communication with other workers.
But after six days the protests yielded result. Salcomp management agreed to reinstate all dismissed union members, withdraw from the lawsuit challenging the CBA certificate issued by Ministry of Labour and start collective bargaining negotiations on 1 October.
“When we come together, we win. Thanks to the action taken and the attention from international solidarity, the workers’ right to organize has been recognized,”
says Pevrul Kavlak, president of Türk Metal and member of IndustriALL Executive Committee.
“We congratulate Türk Metal and their members on this union win, and welcome the company’s commitment to engaging in genuine social dialogue,”
says Atle Høie, IndustruALL general secretary.
Xiaomi is a multinational electronics company founded in April 2010 and headquartered in Beijing. Xiaomi makes a wide range of electronics products, such as smartphones, laptops, home appliances, and consumer electronics.
21 September, 2021
Ukrainian unions are planning a protest action on 7 October, World Day for Decent Work, against the current labour law reform, which risks undermining workers’ and trade union rights.
Among the proposed draft laws is draft law № 5371, which excludes workers of small and medium-sized companies from legal protection by setting a new "contractual regime for regulating labour relations", where all working conditions are determined by an employment contract instead of by labour law.
Dismissals would be at the employer’s discretion, as the employment contract would determine the grounds for dismissal instead of the current strict list of grounds provided by the labour code.
Another draft law, №5388, would allow for an almost unlimited use of short-term employment contracts; determine additional grounds for dismissals; deprive single mothers, people with disabilities, young workers and specialists retired after military service of their current guarantees; and deprive workers of guarantees for overtime.
“Union proposals have not been included and the draft laws undermine the balance of rights and interests between employers and trade unions. In addition, a number of the current provisions could lead to violation of human rights and elimination of core labour rights,”
says Lesia Semeniaka, IndustriALL Executive Committee member and international secretary of the Nuclear Power and Industry Workers Union of Ukraine (Atomprofspilka).
Both draft laws infringe on trade union rights by limiting the scope of union coordination, and are in violation of the national constitution and international core labour standards, including ILO conventions and EU directives.
“Under the cover of adapting labour and social legislation to modern realities and creating improved conditions for investors, Ukrainian authorities continue their attack on workers’ and trade union rights,”
said Independent Trade Union of Miners of Ukraine (NPGU) chairman Mikhailo Volynets addressing IndustriALL’s 3rd Congress.
Last year, the draft labour law №2708 was defeated thanks to mass union protests in Ukraine and global solidarity action and subsequently abandoned following the resignation of the government. However, legislators have instead drafted separate laws, which they are now trying to push through Parliament.
IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan, says:
“Ukraine must abandon the anti-worker law reform and act in accordance with international labour conventions, ratified by Ukraine, and the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. We urge Ukrainian legislators to seek ILO technical expert advice and support in amending the current legislation, in cooperation with social partners, to ensure full compliance with international core labour standards and norms.”
Norman Mampane (Shopsteward Editor)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Street, Braamfontein, 2017
P.O.Box 1019, Johannesburg, 2000, South Africa
Tel: +27 11 339-4911 Direct line: 010 219-1348