Press statement issued by the Congress of South African Trade Unions.
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NATIONAL UNION OF METALWORKERS OF SOUTH AFRICA
153 Bree Street (cnr. Becker),
P.O. Box 260483 Newton,
DATE : 08 May 2001
NUMSA PRESS RELEASE- FOR IMMEDIATE USE.
The Oil, Chemical and General Allied Workers Union ( OCGAWU) has recently signed a Recognition Agreement in contrast to the Labour Relations Act, with the Union Spinning Mills (Pty) Ltd which stripped all workers rights enshrined in the Basic Conditions Of Employment Act and LRA.
The agreement reads as “ The union recognises the right of the company to manage, direct and control the affairs of the company, subject to this agreement, the company memorandum of association and prevailing labour law jurisprudence. That any disagreement between the parties in respect of a matter of mutual interest which cannot or has not been resolved by negotiation ” If the dispute remains unresolved after eight days of the dispute being declared such dispute shall be referred to private arbitration.”
The thrust of this agreement signed by OCGAWU and Union Spinning Mills on the 5th April 2001effectively undermines and takes away all the rights of workers won by COSATU affiliates in the BCEA and LRA. The agreement curtails even the right of workers to strike. This takes trade unions to the dark days of sweetheart trade unions and liaison committees in the apartheid era. OCGAWU has opted for draconian conditions in the recognition agreement. The agreement commits workers to working conditions, which cannot be amended, modified or waived until 2003.
It is the same OCGAWU, which deceived the 1300 VWSA workers not to return to work on the eve of the ultimatum after the leadership of NUMSA, persuaded workers to go back to work. NUMSA signed an agreement with the VWSA company, that workers would return to work, in a bid to save jobs and stop the company from relocating to Germany. OCGAWU organised a separate meeting on the company gates to inform workers to defy the company ultimatum and the agreement.
Lastly, their call for a workers party is within the spirit of selling out workers. It is an act of betrayal and wanting to appear more revolutionary than any other union. This act of betrayal of workers resembles an international trend of anarchist who would shout most revolutionary slogans and yet fail to do more for workers but in reality embrace extreme right-wing positions. Their actions are opportunistic and an attempt to deceive and divide the solid working class under the leadership of COSATU. The ANC/COSATU/SACP alliance remains the only relevant formation to chart the course of struggle for the working class. Many workers parties in South Africa have come and go. It is a matter of time that they would also be counted in the dustbin of history.
For more information contact Dumisa Ntuli at 8322031/9 extension 213 cell 0829737282
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