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We salute the motor workers for their heroic strike. Indeed, when when the working class sneezes then the stock exchange must stand to attention! Power is in the hands of the working class. We need to seize control of the means of production, ultimately. This is the only hope for humanity - Socialism! The struggle is far from over.
The Numsa leaders have sold out on the demands of the workers in the motor sector strike. The wage settlement is below inflation that workers experience in their daily lives. Further, by agreeing to an ‘improvement factor’ of 1% for the second and thirds year of the agreement has made their members and the entire working class vulnerable to a wage cut over the next 2 years. The govt aims to stage-manage [manipulate] inflation down to 3% next year. This means that the Numsa members will be forced to accept a 4% increase next year, and perhaps even less the following year. Due to the leadership role of the Numsa members in the struggle, this sellout opens up the floodgates for the bosses and the state to impose low wage increases on the rest of the working class! Further, the Numsa leaders failed to raise the issue of the mass dismissal of the 1386 VWSA workers as one of the demands. The courts have shown that they are in the pockets of big capital and the workers only hope rests with their fellow comrades who still have employment. Yet the leadership of Numsa and Cosatu have remained loudly silent on the matter during the strike. The leadership of Cosatu and Numsa avoided Uitenhage like the plague, showing that they had no real interest in really building the strike. They failed to build real workers’ unity in action by not meeting with MWU or Ocgawu beforehand or even during the strike. They failed to counter the divisive role of the Ocgawu leadership, except through pamphlets.
Leaving the negotiations on the ‘no further claim clause’ in the hands of the Numsa leaders is also a big mistake. Nothing will come of these negotiations. This agreement means workers cannot raise any substantial issue for the next 3 years. In reality, this is an agreement with a no-strike clause for 3 years! We should not forget that the mass dismissal of the 500 Mercedes Benz workers in 1990 was precisely due to the same Numsa leadership betraying the Numsa Congress position to allow plant level bargaining in addition to central level negotiations. These same leaders abandoned the strikers at Mercedes Benz, in the name of ‘orderly bargaining’, a position upheld by the capitalist courts when they confirmed the mass dismissal, ruling against plant level bargaining because these Numsa leaders turned around and said they were not in favour of it. These dismissed workers are still unemployed and are continuing their struggle, albeit on their own.
We call on Numsa members to remove this treacherous leadership and to replace them with independent working class fighters, committed to the struggle for Socialism! Now is the time!
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