Splinter unions show up the big ones


Copy of NM_nm cosatu march20

INLSA

A Cosatu leader addresses a large crowd in Cape Town in 2010. In some cases the voice of smaller unions might be the voice of sanity and might just save the employer, writes the author.

It’s an age-old question, but does size really matter? When it comes to trade unions, organisations boasting large numbers certainly appear to have more muscle.

But last month it was not the giant National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) which brought international focus to SA when it took on the Lonmin mine management at Marikana, but a small splinter mining union, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU).

Anthony Pierce, KwaZulu-Natal spokesman for the teachers union Naptosa – which is considerably smaller than the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) – said big numbers mattered when you wanted to display strength.

“But not when you want to bring issues to the table. So being smaller doesn’t make you less important.”

He added: “Bigger unions assume everyone needs to conform, but in a democracy it’s not like that.”

Pierce conceded, however, that the smaller, non-Cosatu-aligned unions did not enjoy the same standing with the government as those belonging to its tripartite ally.

Still, Cosatu was not taking lightly the emergence of smaller splinter unions. As the federation was to meet in Midrand this week for its national congress, spokesman Patrick Craven said these breakaway unions would definitely be on the agenda for discussion.

Most visible at the moment is AMCU in the mining sector, which is posing a serious challenge to the NUM, Cosatu’s biggest and most powerful affiliate. Utatu, the United Transport and Allied Trade Union, is also proving to be a thorn in the side of the better known Satawu, the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union.

Craven said Cosatu would have to take some responsibility for the breakaway unions.

“For Cosatu it’s a cause for concern when workers form breakaway unions because it is going to weaken the trade union movement… we need even bigger unions to be more effective,” he said.

In the same vein, Mbuyiseni Mathonsi, KZN secretary of teachers union Sadtu, said smaller unions were not recognised at national bargaining councils and were therefore toothless.

“The others [smaller ones] are like associations where people come together like in stokvels and funeral schemes.”

Analyst Johnny Goldberg, of Global Business Solutions, agreed. He said after 25 years experience he believed that there was a need for the one-workplace-one-union concept.

This would strengthen the voice of workers and avoid the competition between them to see who would get the most members as a result of the subscriptions.

“When you have 30 000 to 100 000 workers it’s a big business,” said Goldberg.

But Chris Kloppers, the CEO of the South African Teachers Union (Satu), strongly disagreed. He said that if employers only listened to one union, it could seriously disadvantage workers as the true picture of what was happening in the workplace might not be revealed.

“Sometimes the voice of the minority might be the voice of sanity and might just save the employer.”

Kloppers said being independent and not beholden to any political party was important because this meant unions would not have to toe the party line and disadvantage workers.

He said internationally there was also a move away from the “blue collar style of unionism” where everything was determined by numbers.

It was better to be in touch with workers and provide a critical, independent voice while realising that unions were an integral part of the services sector, he said.

Kloppers said last year Satu, which has a national membership of 33 000 together with the Federation of Governing Bodies of SA Schools, challenged the education department in the high court for refusing to employ 6 000 temporary teachers in the Eastern Cape, which had left the province’s schools in disarray.

They won the case even after the department appealed against the initial ruling. Kloppers said this was a clear indication that size did not matter.

Craven believed that among the reasons for the formation of breakaway unions was that the pay of many workers was still low, especially in relation to their employers, as well as the persistence of racial inequality in the workplace as indicated in the recent report of the Commission for Employment Equity.

So from today to Thursday, Cosatu unions will scratch their heads and try to come up with ways to deal with the issue.

Craven said in some cases members had left and joined other unions because they felt Cosatu was not radical enough; in other cases political opportunists had jumped on the bandwagon, while unions had in some cases let their members down and could have done better.

In addition, trade union leaders are better paid than the workers they represent.

“We need to check that we are not too complacent,” said Craven. He said Cosatu wanted to be closer to its members and ensure that they did not become “office-based unions where organisers spend their lives in air-conditioned offices”.

Mthetho Xhali, a researcher at the International Labour Research and Information Group, agreed that Cosatu had moved away from its workers and that it should go back to being the trade union it was in the ’80s when it was intimately involved in the struggles faced by working-class communities. He added that Cosatu should democratise itself and develop ways which would allow its rank-and-file workers to shape its agenda.

“The unfolding developments in the mining sector reveal that shop steward committees are no longer the best link to workers. This is not the first time that lack of accountability has been exposed within Cosatu unions. We saw this during the public sector strike, where workers rejected an offer which negotiators settled with the state,” said Xhali.


sign up
 
Newspaper Subscriptions
nirina
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
Judith78
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 48.
View Profile
Midcentury_girl
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 40.
View Profile
Blondie_434
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 43.
View Profile
_Melanie_
I'm a 18 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 18 and 28.
View Profile
BMull08
I'm a 19 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 19 and 30.
View Profile
Butterfly_effect
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 36 and 48.
View Profile
Sonskyn83
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
MelaC15
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 34 and 45.
View Profile
Lady_143
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 34 and 40.
View Profile
your_wildest_dreams
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 55.
View Profile
Moze008
I'm a 57 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 55 and 70.
View Profile
HartjievanHoneydew
I'm a 21 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
HenrietteF
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 42.
View Profile
Smurfette
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
sweets1987
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 42.
View Profile
newmemories
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
LimitlessSoul
I'm a 45 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
Apple_853
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Artistixoxo
I'm a 23 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 23 and 28.
View Profile
KW82
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 40.
View Profile
tigerlady28
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 22 and 34.
View Profile
SilverLiningM
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 36.
View Profile
KittyCat_69
I'm a 46 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
Foreverinhope
I'm a 48 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 56.
View Profile
Enkellopende
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 43.
View Profile
PleinKatryn
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 35.
View Profile
DashieDash
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
Jobaby10
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 45.
View Profile
Chriz_1985
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
WandaLove
I'm a 19 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 22 and 26.
View Profile
JanieL
I'm a 24 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 32.
View Profile
MTBGirl_11
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
AgentI
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Teleporter1612
I'm a 48 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 43 and 100.
View Profile
Persephone101
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Lise41
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 42 and 55.
View Profile
Doeksa
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 33 and 39.
View Profile
Cathwhite
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Caroline_
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 26 and 36.
View Profile
MistyLady
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 34 and 45.
View Profile
Loubelle
I'm a 50 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
Mayfly_2
I'm a 26 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 26 and 45.
View Profile
klouise
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 31 and 39.
View Profile
RobzMolecule
I'm a 24 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 22 and 30.
View Profile
recently40
I'm a 40 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 58.
View Profile
Bassinchic
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men and women between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
Bienkie01
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 34 and 48.
View Profile
Fire_and_Ice81
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Bebe1000
I'm a 53 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 49 and 57.
View Profile
Rarefind
I'm a 55 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 52 and 63.
View Profile
MissMoneypenny_13
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 42.
View Profile
Jimmyhgirl
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
JustChat76
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
PowerPrincess
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 47.
View Profile
L123
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 39.
View Profile
Sophie_123
I'm a 24 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 33.
View Profile
Gemima
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
bon1bon
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 40.
View Profile
jamielief
I'm a 21 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 32.
View Profile
Kay_722
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 40.
View Profile
sonskyn27
I'm a 56 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
TuffLove
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Kelix
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
MizLiz
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 40.
View Profile
Lilakii
I'm a 21 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 23 and 31.
View Profile
Blu
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 33.
View Profile
ContagiousLaughter
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 36 and 44.
View Profile
MissSM
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 39.
View Profile
Somersblomme
I'm a 53 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 50 and 60.
View Profile
Warmsmilewarmheart
I'm a 47 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 55.
View Profile
Blondie953
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
Leigh1979
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 40.
View Profile
Smileawhile
I'm a 45 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 36 and 44.
View Profile
dreamsoftly
I'm a 49 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 47 and 58.
View Profile
Livs_89
I'm a 25 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 38.
View Profile
Sunshine_again
I'm a 46 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 52.
View Profile
CTBLONDE
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men and women between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
shani27
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
JillieB
I'm a 61 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 55 and 70.
View Profile
sexyhair
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
FoXyLaDy444
I'm a 56 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 50 and 65.
View Profile
Hopeful_dreamer
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 33 and 45.
View Profile
Angdt
I'm a 21 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 23 and 30.
View Profile
SouthernLove
I'm a 23 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 26 and 35.
View Profile
Rosesandlace
I'm a 49 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 49 and 53.
View Profile
Plattelandsenooi3
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 33 and 45.
View Profile
optimistic_36
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 46.
View Profile
Bastet_11
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 48.
View Profile
Bianx24
I'm a 24 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 30.
View Profile
khosyx
I'm a 20 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 21 and 30.
View Profile
JULIET_001
I'm a 51 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 49 and 63.
View Profile
FaiRy9
I'm a 26 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 36.
View Profile
Winterwolf
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 35.
View Profile
Lala8610
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 32.
View Profile
JayAnne
I'm a 56 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 56 and 70.
View Profile
Bluebell531
I'm a 46 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 60.
View Profile
chloeeeee
I'm a 44 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 52.
View Profile
sexilexi17
I'm a 19 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 20 and 25.
View Profile
JPretoria
I'm a 38 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 40.
View Profile
Agent_K1
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 38 and 40.
View Profile
captainkid
I'm a 55 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 47 and 56.
View Profile
SingleNSearching60
I'm a 60 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 55 and 70.
View Profile
gentlebutcrazy
I'm a 58 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
KTM1190A
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 58.
View Profile
BobTheExtremeBuilder
I'm a 47 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 47.
View Profile
gavinzn
I'm a 57 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 57.
View Profile
Natureboykie
I'm a 60 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 43 and 64.
View Profile
cornrlius205
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 50.
View Profile
koolstoof55
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 63.
View Profile
LiveLifeAlways
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 33 and 41.
View Profile
Alachison
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
Andy_Leo
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
freddic1
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 47 and 55.
View Profile
BENTLEY292
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
Ivanhoe25
I'm a 47 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
TripleJ94
I'm a 20 year old man looking to meet men and women between the ages of 18 and 30.
View Profile
Propriety
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
stumpjumper
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
karooboertjie15
I'm a 40 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 40.
View Profile
Bruce_308
I'm a 47 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 41 and 70.
View Profile
henisright
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 37 and 53.
View Profile
breeze001
I'm a 49 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 55.
View Profile
ekke_706
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 55.
View Profile
Stand64
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 36 and 55.
View Profile
BossMorne
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
CDolf
I'm a 30 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 33.
View Profile
Suidwester27
I'm a 53 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
6s6s6s
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
rjscm
I'm a 48 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
Ons2alleen
I'm a 30 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 24 and 29.
View Profile
CL4ptp
I'm a 28 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 22 and 28.
View Profile
Denali
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 40.
View Profile
goldenhat
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 36 and 66.
View Profile
sunset22
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 57.
View Profile
Gerrie1
I'm a 67 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 60.
View Profile
daniel101
I'm a 44 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 32 and 38.
View Profile
Bryn
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 20 and 55.
View Profile
DaveB_791
I'm a 49 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
JustCallMeBwana
I'm a 47 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 49.
View Profile
philip_unplugged514
I'm a 62 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 68.
View Profile
bellagio
I'm a 69 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 55 and 65.
View Profile
Gambino_Family
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 42 and 70.
View Profile
Jurgy62
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 37 and 55.
View Profile
Gaultier2014
I'm a 31 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 59.
View Profile
wiedahunk
I'm a 57 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 70.
View Profile
WanderingShadow
I'm a 39 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
ScottRanger1987
I'm a 27 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 30.
View Profile
Ironstein06
I'm a 36 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 37.
View Profile
tommy351
I'm a 61 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 59.
View Profile
Coolfun
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
matiekat
I'm a 66 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
pinsnow
I'm a 55 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 65.
View Profile
Natural123
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
toothless
I'm a 36 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 36.
View Profile
Lonomor
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
umustbsomewhere
I'm a 61 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
dinnerfortwo
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
cccdovy
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 56.
View Profile
richy10
I'm a 57 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 49 and 70.
View Profile
Jericho2010
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 49.
View Profile
Fred58
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
MLACOME0147
I'm a 55 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 49 and 79.
View Profile
Dn212
I'm a 51 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 60.
View Profile
DutchDelight_
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 46.
View Profile
pieterl
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 62.
View Profile
Firefox_771
I'm a 63 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 42 and 56.
View Profile
5star
I'm a 57 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 55.
View Profile
lvebird53
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 65.
View Profile
Brainy_01
I'm a 30 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 22 and 31.
View Profile
Tall_fun
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
TheRealMrRight
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 42.
View Profile
George5911
I'm a 55 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 36 and 50.
View Profile
LovingSerenity
I'm a 38 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 24 and 45.
View Profile
contour
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 34 and 39.
View Profile
Cruisingoldie
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 50.
View Profile
Lastgreatwhite
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
Sundancekid344
I'm a 65 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 58.
View Profile
Liefasb
I'm a 63 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 60.
View Profile
Romance51
I'm a 51 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 41 and 60.
View Profile
cloudhopper
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
OohCharles
I'm a 53 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
TheDuke_99
I'm a 36 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 42.
View Profile
mark99
I'm a 62 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
Kitchenslave
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 50.
View Profile
Banker009
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 34 and 49.
View Profile
charl1906
I'm a 57 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 49 and 53.
View Profile
Officer_Gentleman
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 48.
View Profile
Ryno_56
I'm a 26 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 34.
View Profile
Rebelinbluejeans
I'm a 62 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 62.
View Profile
Belligerent69
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 44.
View Profile
kannieworrynie
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
IrishBoy11
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 27 and 40.
View Profile
plodof
I'm a 58 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
Jonathen53
I'm a 61 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 57 and 64.
View Profile
DJStarglance
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
Lifechanger_7
I'm a 25 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 30.
View Profile
Kiwiana
I'm a 39 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 39.
View Profile
cknneth111
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 41 and 70.
View Profile

Business Directory