Today the police in Uitenhage, in a clear act of intimidation, swooped on the
house where the the VW workers normally have their meeting.
They barged in, armed to the teeth with rifles and handguns, without search warrant in their 'anti-crime' drive and turned the whole house upside down. Needless to say, there was no swoop on the Numsa office or the VWSA management premises! The police service serves who?
Today the Uitenhage Crisis Committee met with Gomomo who acted as intermediary for the company and Numsa. All Gomomo could come up with was that Numsa officials have agreed that Cosatu can appoint the delegation to meet the VWSA management. The Crisis Committee rejected this and felt that there had been a breakdown of trust. At this point it must be clarified that the Crisis Committee comprises only of workers from 9 Numsa organised factories in Uitenhage together with the 13 shopstewards from VWSA. Gomomo indicated that he put it to the company that they should not employ new people. It is not clear what the response was. The meeting ended without a solution and it was agreed to meet later under the chair of the local churches with the NUmsa officials. The workers criticised the public statement by Mbeki against the strikers. What about workers rights and democracy?
Later today the churches met with Gomomo, the Crisis Committee and the NUmsa officials. From the start the NUmsa officials adopted an arrogant position, questioning the right of the 13 shopstewards to represent their fellow workers. The meeting was so heated that the church ministers walked out and only one of them remained behind.
The Church gave up trying to mediate - they were trying to create 'peace'. The Crisis Committee was clear, the 13 shopstewards are workers at VW, they must be part of the delegation that will decide the future of themselves and their co-workers. The worker delegates from the Crisis Committee must be part of the delegation to negotiate with management. The Numsa officials refused. They are the officials and they represent the workers!, they said. Let Cosatu choose the delegation, they said further. The Crisis Committee rejected this and stuck by the position, they as workers have the final say over their own future. The meeting ended without agreement.
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