Absent unions ‘not in good standing’

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Copy of ST p6sec Cosatu 818.JPG (39293223) INLSA Cosatu's president S'dumo Dlamini flanked by Bheki Ntshalintshali (left) and Freda Oosthuysen address the media. File picture: Boxer Ngwenya

Johannesburg - Five of the nine unions which boycotted a Cosatu central executive committee (CEC) meeting were not affiliates in good standing, the trade union federation said on Tuesday.

“The unions that did not come to the meeting... I can tell you with my eyes closed that five of those unions are not in good standing,” Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini told reporters in Johannesburg.

“Even if they were going to be present at the meeting, they were not going to be a deciding factor.”

He would not say who the five unions were.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) was briefing media following a special CEC meeting held on Monday.

Acting general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said the CEC took the decision to decline a request by those nine affiliates for a special national congress (SNC).

“The CEC raised problems which a SNC would cause affiliates, including financial constraints, a full programme of other events and election work.

“In this context, the meeting decided to decline the request for a SNC.”

Nine affiliates have called for the reinstatement of suspended general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and for a special congress to be held.

Vavi was suspended last year after he admitted to having an affair with a junior employee. The affiliates believed the disciplinary process instituted against Vavi was unjust.

They wanted the congress to be held by the end of March and a new Cosatu leadership elected. The unions threatened to take Cosatu to court if it did not hold the congress.

The affiliates are the Communication Workers Union, the Democratic Nurses Union of SA, the Food and Allied Workers Union, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA, the Public and Allied Workers Union of SA, the SA Commercial and Catering Workers Union, the SA Football Players Union, the SA Municipal Workers Union, and the SA State and Allied Workers Union.

Ntshalintshali on Tuesday said none of the unions had indicated that they were going to boycott the meeting. However, two unions did send an apology. Despite their absence the meeting still had a quorum.

He said a letter would be written to the unions who called for the congress, explaining why it would not go ahead.

The CEC also took a decision to give Numsa an ultimatum following resolutions it had taken at its special congress last year.

Cosatu wanted Numsa to give reasons why it should not be suspended or expelled.

“The national office bearers reported their deep concern over the resolutions and declaration passed by Numsa's special congress which are diametrically opposed to Cosatu policies.

“It was agreed that the national office bearers must write a letter to Numsa to give reasons why it should not be suspended or expelled from the federation, and is now being implemented.”

Numsa and Cosatu have been at loggerheads since Vavi's suspension.

The metalworkers union resolved at its congress in December not to support the African National Congress in the upcoming general elections.

Ntshalintshali said the CEC agreed that Numsa, as a Cosatu affiliate, was bound by the federation's policies and constitution.

Dlamini said Cosatu did not “enjoy” the prospect of expelling Numsa.

“It's a very painful and unnecessary thing to venture into,” he said.

Cosatu was expecting a response from Numsa.


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