Taking COSATU Today Forward, 19 October 2021

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Norman Mampane

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Oct 19, 2021, 3:46:18 AMOct 19
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COSATU TODAY

#2021YearofCosatuLocals

#Back2Basics

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#ClassConsciousness

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

Tuesday, 19 October 2021


‘Deepen the Back to Basics Campaign, Consolidate the Struggle for the NDR and Advance the Struggle for Socialism’

All workers urged to take Covid19 vaccine jabs!

Organize at every workplace and demand Personal Protective Equipment Now!

Defend Jobs Now!

Join COSATU NOW!

 

Contents                      

  • Workers Parliament: Back to Basics!

Ø  Employment and Labour investigation into Rheinmetall Denel Munition fatal incident underway

  • South Africa
  • NEHAWU Gauteng Special Extended PEC Statement
  • International-Workers’ Solidarity!

Ø  ITF condemns assault on inspector, calls for zero-tolerance towards violence in maritime

Workers’ Parliament-Back2Basics 

Employment and Labour investigation into Rheinmetall Denel Munition fatal incident underway

18 Oct 2021

Public inquiry into Rheinmetall Denel Munition’s fatal incident set to resume this week 

The inquiry by the Department of Employment and Labour to investigate events leading into the Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) fatal incident is set to get underway from Tuesday, 19 October – Thursday 22 October 2021.

This is the second sitting since the incident took place at the premises of Rheinmetall Denel Munition in Macassar at the magisterial district of Somerset West in 2018 where an explosion at a munitions plant led to the deaths of eight workers and fatal injury to one worker.  The first sitting took place in May 2021 where 13 witnesses were cross examined before the commission. 

Since the incident in 2018, Employment and Labour Inspectors continued with the investigation in terms in terms of section 31 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 85 of 1993 and concluded the investigation in 2019 and the report was submitted to the Chief Inspector.

The Department ordered the establishment of a section 32 inquiry to investigate violations of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) thus appointing Mphumzi Dyulete as the Presiding Inspector. The inquiry could not continue in 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions.

According to the presiding officer Dyulete, a total of 17 witnesses are lined up to give evidence.

“The inquiry is continuing this week and the commission will hear testimony from all interested parties as to what transpired during that fatal day. Once the commission of inquiry has established what had happened it will compile a report and recommendations to the department’s Chief Inspector who in turn will hand over the report to the National Prosecutions Authority for consideration,” said Dyulete. 

Interested parties in the inquiry include: the employer, employees, organised labour, family members and the Department of Employment and Labour.

The sitting will be held at the Community House in Salt River (47 Salt River Road) from 09h00 – 16h30.

Members of the media are invited.

Media enquiries:
Mapula Tloubatla
Cell: 060 989 7509
E-mail: 
Mapula.T...@labour.gov.za(link sends e-mail)

Issued by: Department of Employment and Labour

South Africa 

NEHAWU Gauteng Special Extended PEC Statement

Mzikayise Tshontshi, NEHAWU Gauteng Provincial Secretary, October 18, 2021

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] in Gauteng convened its Special Extended Provincial Executive Committee [SPEC] meeting on the 13th – 14th October 2021 in Johannesburg. The SPEC was convened to conclude the work of the 11th Gauteng Provincial Congress.

The SPEC considered the resolutions of the 11th Gauteng Provincial Congress focussing on the international class balance of forces, national political situation, socio-economic situation and organisational priorities.

International Context

The SPEC resolved to intensify international solidarity activism and awareness amongst members of the union and society at large. The meeting denounced the imperialist US aggression against Venezuela, Cuba and the Latin America Region. The meeting condemned the Western Imperialist economic trade-wars directed at China and Russian. These trade wars are centred on plunging the developing economies into deep economic crisis.

The meeting resolved to strengthen international work on campaigns for a Free Palestine against Apartheid Israel, work tirelessly to support the working class struggle of the people of Swaziland and Western Sahara for freedom and emancipation. In this regard, the meeting condemned the African Union Commission’s decision to accept Israel as an observer in the AU and further reject the acceptance of Morocco as a member state of the AU.

The SPEC agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the wide divide between the working class and the dominant class (bourgeoisie) throughout the world. The SPEC made a clarion call to all progressive forces to fight against vaccine imperialism.

National Political Situation

The SPEC resolved to forge unity of all progressive forces within the Alliance with the full appreciation of the imperative for the two working class formations - COSATU and the SACP - to understand the importance of having a coherent program to assert its hegemony within the ANC and society for the attainment of socialism.

The SPEC re-affirmed its unwavering commitment to socialism and its attainment, and urged the SACP to celebrate its 100 Years Centenary by moving forward in building a broad popular left front for the working class. NEHAWU in the province will engage the SACP on the rebuilding of the sub-committee on labour and trade unions in order to deepen the programme of the Party within the trade unions.

The meeting analysed the state of the NDR and came to a conclusion that the NDR is in a state of stagnation and reiterated deep concern that the ANC is currently deeply divided and organisationally paralysed and thus risking the derailment of the revolution. This is taking place at the time when the balance of class forces are decisively in favour of monopoly capital and the reactionary political forces. These forces are increasingly making inroads on the ANC’s mass base and political power.

The SPEC agreed that the Alliance remains strategically relevant and welcomed the efforts led by the SACP for the reconfiguration of the Alliance. Having learnt over the years in the implementation of the COSATU 2015 Plan, ultimately the reconfiguration of the Alliance is a function of, and is determined by the balance of class forces on the ground.

Corruption and state capture are indeed part of a counter-revolutionary tide gaining ground in the movement, in particular the ANC. The Special Extended PEC resolved to actively support the initiative of building the broadest possible popular front to defend, advance and deepen our democracy and national sovereignty, to fight state capture, corruption, rent-seeking and all forms of manipulation of our national wealth and public resources by sections of individuals and elitist groupings.

NEHAWU in the province will play a greater role in COSATU, ANC and SACP programmes and build alliance relations in order to advance workers issues and working class agenda.

Socio-Economic situation

The SPEC welcomed the finalisation of the National Health Insurance [NHI] Bill by parliament and as such calls for the full implementation of the National Health Insurance, as a truly universal health care system for all people with the state as the driver and implementer, with its key focus being primary preventative health care. The NHI will guarantee that all South Africans have access to free, comprehensive and quality healthcare in the country’s health facilities.

The meeting deliberated on the crisis of ESKOM which has a direct impact to the economic growth. Whilst we understand that fundamentally unbundling does not necessarily mean privatization but a very critical component of restructuring in the workplace. Without any doubt including selling of the non-core assets will result in massive job losses and retrenchments in Eskom. The unbundling of Eskom is the broader deliberate strategy by government that will leave the company vulnerable to private capital.

NEHAWU in the province calls on Department of Higher Education and Training [DHET] to fully implement for the post the migration of TVET Colleges settlement agreement without fail. The union wants to warn College Principals that the union will act decisively to protect our members and further calls on the Minister of DHET to intervene as we have an agreement that protects our members from any victimization.

The SPEC reaffirmed its unwavering support for free and qualitative tertiary education which is centred on the demands of the Freedom Charter in relation to education. The unions calls on the government to develop a permanent funding model to address and provide for this free accessible and inclusive education. As NEHAWU in the province, we will continue to fight shoulder to shoulder with our dependable ally SASCO and the PYA for a free decommodified education.

The SPEC resolved to strengthen the campaign for a living wage and the broadening of the social security system to cover more vulnerable sections of our society against extreme poverty and deprivation.

The meeting further resolved to fight against any form of gender based violence and urged all male comrades to commit to this undertaking as the starting point of dealing with the social ill of gender based violence. This is a societal problem that the union will fight from the shop floor and through to communities where its members reside.

Organisational Priorities

The SPEC resolved to continue to strengthen workplace organisation and requires a strong union in the overall to perform this task. As such, the union in the province will continue with the programme of renewal and this will be coupled with rolling-out dedicated activities to strengthen workplace organisation, rebuild branches, consolidate and improve our work to achieve a strong workplace organisation in the overall.

The meeting resolved to intensify work on recruitment of new members to the union, and this therefore means that the union in the province must accelerate its recruitment campaign, improve service to retain members and broaden its recruitment strategy. The meeting further resolved to improve the quality of our bargaining and paralegal structures by rolling training for all our shopstewards and coordinators.

END

Issued by NEHAWU Gauteng Secretariat

For more information, please contact: Mzikayise Tshontshi (Gauteng Provincial Secretary) at 0636851938 or email: mzik...@nehawu.org.za or Thulisile Msimang (Gauteng Provincial Deputy Secretary) at 0721748062 or email: tmsi...@dtps.gov.za

International-Solidarity 

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ITF condemns assault on inspector, calls for zero-tolerance towards violence in maritime

18 Oct 2021

An ITF inspector was physically assaulted by a ship’s Master in an unprecedented attack which the Federation says must be condemned.

The assault happened onboard a vessel which was being investigated by the Inspectorate of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) for failing to comply with safety regulations, and for apparent irregularities in crew pay and conditions. The company is a well-known European shipowner, with their vessel flagged to landlocked Luxemburg.

“The ITF strongly condemns what has happened here: a physical assault against an ITF inspector who was just trying to do their job,” said ITF Inspectorate Coordinator Steve Trowsdale.

Trowsdale said that the ITF would not be releasing the name of the inspector to protect their privacy, nor wider details of the incident as the Federation considers its options for pursuing matters via legal avenues. The ITF has also chosen to withhold the name of the Master, the vessel, and the company at the centre of the assault case, for the time being.

“The ITF has a zero-tolerance policy towards violence at work, and this extends to how employers in the industry or their agents treat officials such ITF inspectors,” said Trowsdale.

“Our inspectorate team must always be allowed to get on with their important work unincumbered and unintimidated. The ITF stands behind our inspectors and will defend them whenever necessary.”

Trowsdale said the ITF’s 134 inspectors, coordinators, and union contacts “do outstanding work” daily defending the rights of seafarers, helping thousands of seafarers every year. “But” he said, “our inspectors are not always welcomed with open arms by a shipowner or their representative on board – particularly if they have something to hide.”

As part of their investigations, inspectors are often required to physically board vessels to verify the welfare of seafarers for themselves. Inspectors also need to go through onboard records related to pay and recorded hours of work and rest to make sure they match up with what seafarers have experienced.

“It doesn’t matter how angry or agitated a shipowner or their representative is: there is no excuse and no room for an ITF inspector, nor anyone working in the maritime industry, frankly, to be physically assaulted. Violence needs to be unacceptable in our industry,” said Trowsdale.

ITF to review inspector safety

Since the unnamed inspector was attacked earlier this year, the ITF has launched a review into the training and support it offers to inspectorate officials. But the ITF also has a warning for others in the industry.

“We train our inspectors to deal with aggressive people and situations on vessels, and of course we offer them support when needed,” said Trowsdale. “But when incidents like this happen, however unprecedented, we have to stop and ask whether as an organisation there’s anything more that we can do to protect our team going forward.”

“We’ll look at what we need to do internally,” Trowsdale continued. “But stopping incidents like this is going to take the whole of the industry adopting the ITF’s zero-tolerance approach to violence and violent attitudes. Any seafarer, Master, employer, or agent who makes our workplaces unsafe should have no future in our industry. Period.”

Maritime must be safe for everyone, including women

“There is too much violence and too much intimidation that takes place in the maritime industry,” said Lena Dyring, ITF Seafarers’ Section Women’s representative.

“And while violence and intimidation at work is bad for all maritime workers – for our seafarers, for our inspectors, for our tug and towage workers – it is especially problematic for women and our industry’s ability to attract and retain women seafarers.”

Dyring said that significant workforce shortages were expected in seafarer officers and ratings positions in coming years. “We need more women to take up seafaring roles.”

“From a union perspective, how to you overcome labour shortages? You have to make sure there are good quality jobs with safe workplaces that women want to take up in the first place. That means no more violence – and no more excuses for perpetrators.”

The ITF has been active in campaigns to end violence at work for decades. In the last year, the Federation and its maritime affiliates have been active in support of governments ratifying International Labour Organization Convention 190 (C190)which came into force on 25 June 2021. C190 has a particular focus on gender-based violence and harassment in the world of work.

__________________________

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

 

 

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