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Workers International League Distances Itself from Undemocratic and Unprincipled Actions of OCGAWU Leadership!

Workers International Vanguard League[WIVL] played a leading role in the formation of the Oil Chemical General and Allied Workers Union [OCGAWU]. When the BP workers were expelled from Cosatu in 1998, this division in the working class was a setback. WIVL promoted the rebuilding of working class unity against capitalist attacks and against the bureaucrats in the Cosatu leadership, the agents of the bosses. Indeed, the WIVL promoted the solidarity strike in the chemical sector in September 1998 between OCGAWU and the rest of the chemical workers in their wage strike. The result was that OCGAWU workers came out on a solidarity strike for 1 week in support of their fellow workers. WIVL members laid the basis for the resolutions to be adopted for a Working Class Party and of Socialism as the vision and foundation of OCGAWU.

From the beginning the leadership of OCGAWU was contested terrain. Initially OCGAWU was helping workers fight the bureaucracies in other unions and only if workers gave up on this fight then workers would be accepted into the union. Links were to be built with workers across union affiliation. But this soon changed, with OCGAWU merely poaching members from other unions. This played into the hands of the capitalists, who require a split in the workers' movement in order that they may maintain the highest rate of exploitation of workers.

This rightward shift has continued alongside an increase in the influence of the ANC over the leadership of OCGAWU. This rapid degeneration has been reflected in:

  1. The signing by the OCGAWU leaders of a "no strike" recognition agreement with the company, Union Spinning Mills;

  2. The signing of an unmandated provident fund agreement backed by Liberty Life;

  3. The unmandated signing of a Funeral policy scheme backed by Sanlam, which only covers workers after 6 months of payment;

  4. The allowing of agent provocateurs to promote division and physical fights among the VWSA dismissed workers and between the inside workers and those outside. They are breaching the fundamental principle of whoever makes allegations should bring proof of such and allow the other person/s to present the other side of the picture.

On the case around the VWSA mass dismissal:

The VWSA dismissed workers were able to achieve huge political pressure on the state and the VW bosses through their UNITY up to now. The unity among the dismissed workers and between those inside and outside and with those workers across the world has been the foundation of the campaign so far. NOTHING SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO BREAK THIS UNITY! We should not forget that there was the offer by the Numsa leaders on the 3rd February 2000 that only 800 will be accepted back by the company. Thus it is in the interest of the ANC to also promote fighting among the workers so that the ANC will help pick and choose who will be taken back. Even if the workers had a dozen lawyers or professors, we must not forget that the courts are part of the capitalist SYSTEM. These courts will never deliver workers' justice. They will always favour the continued rule of the capitalist class. It is only the strength of the workers that can shape the outcome of the various battles. In the whole battle so far there has been a neglect of the political organization of the working class, in favour of concentrating on the legal process. This shortcoming needs to be immediately addressed.

Issued by Workers International Vanguard League ph 0731555529

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