Cape Town - Numsa will not engage in “childish” games that threaten to weaken or destroy its leadership, it said on Friday.
“We are ready to be engaged with any individual or organisation, on any of the matters we raise in the public domain,” the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) said in a statement.
“However, we refuse to be co-opted to any agenda that seeks to isolate and destroy our leadership.”
The union said it would not be forced into “mud-slinging, scandal-mongering and desperate personalisation” of serious political issues.
On Thursday, SA Communist Party deputy secretary Solly Mapaila accused Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim of wanting to take control of the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu).
He said Jim had hoped to take over from Zwelinzima Vavi as general secretary of Cosatu, if Vavi was appointed as African National Congress deputy president.
Mapaila said Jim had tried, in the run-up to the ANC's elective conference in Mangaung last December, to lobby President Jacob Zuma to install Vavi as ANC deputy president. Businessman Cyril Ramaphosa was elected instead.
As a result, Jim had become determined to split Cosatu and lead a break-away.
Mapaila said Jim had accused the SACP and ANC of dividing Cosatu, while it was he who was dividing the federation.
“It is the Jim-Numsa leadership clique, that since the beginning of this year, has openly been proclaiming a rupture in Cosatu,” he said.
Vavi was placed on special leave in August for having an affair with a junior employee.
Nine of Cosatu's 19 affiliates subsequently called for a special national congress. However, its president Sidumo Dlamini said Vavi did not feature in their reasons for calling for the special congress.
Numsa has lodged an application in the High Court in Johannesburg challenging Vavi's suspension. Cosatu has asked it to withdraw the action.
Vavi has lodged papers asking to be added as an applicant. He wants final relief to review and set aside the decision to suspend him.
Last month, Numsa confirmed that it was debating whether to leave Cosatu, which would in effect mean leaving Cosatu's tripartite alliance with the ANC and the SACP.
Jim said Numsa was being isolated by the ANC and the SACP after coming to Vavi's defence. Cosatu has resolved to probe Numsa's conduct.
On Friday, Numsa said its priority now was the special national congress.