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Cosatu calls for ceasefire extension

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INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

The new Cosatu headquarters in Braamfontein. File picture: Giyani Baloi

Johannesburg - THE central executive committee of Cosatu has called on leaders of the federation, affiliates and members to cease from hostilities for another month. This means the ANC brokered Cosatu-ceasefire will continue.

Cosatu, South Africa’s biggest trade union federation met this week with unity and cohesion dominating the agenda.

The federation has been wracked with factionalism and in-fighting since August last year when the CEC suspended its general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi.

Vavi was reinstated earlier this year after a court order, but the warring between rival affiliates did not stop.

Addressing the media, the general secretary said the cessation of hostilities applied to members of Cosatu alliance partner, the SACP, as well.

Last month the ANC launched an eleventh hour peace deal at Cosatu’s April CEC where the federation was due to consider suspending the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa).

The controversial “ceasefire” was slated by some union leaders as aimed solely at preventing an embarrassing result at the May 7 polls, with the federation a key ally for the ruling party during elections in garnering working class support.

Immediately after the results were announced, with the ANC receiving just under 63 percent of the national vote, Numsa came out guns blazing and declaring the ceasefire over.

The union contends that the SACP and ANC have sold out the working class and are defenders of a neo-liberal agenda

It has since announced its intention to launch its own workers party to contest the 2016 local government elections, with stern words for Cosatu’s tripartite alliance partners the ANC and SACP.

The new package which the ANC is developing is meant to address Cosatu’s leadership disputes, including the choice and deployment of leaders, Vavi said.

Meanwhile, the CEC would come down hard on Numsa if it failed to stop poaching members from fellow Cosatu affiliates, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu).

Cosatu’s national officials will now be holding bi-laterals between the national office-bearers of Numsa and Satawu early next month.

The CEC has also called on eight Cosatu affiliates to put in abeyance their court application to force the federation to hold a special national congress for the next six weeks.

Cosatu has also called for an end to the four-month long strike on the platinum belt, deploring the “arrogance” of the mine bosses and escalating violence in the areas surrounding Marikana.

Vavi said that even while the CEC was in session, union leaders were informed that two houses belonging to NUM members were hit by petrol bombs, while another workers was attacked while going to work.

A third incident involved a striking worker who hanged himself.

Vavi welcomed the “energetic” efforts of new Mineral Resources Minister, Ngoako Ramathlodi as well as his commitment to work with all stakeholders including rival union, the Associated Mine and Construction Workers Union (Amcu).

Political Bureau


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