Fawu general secretary Katishi Masemola. Picture: Boxer Ngwenya/Independent Media

Johannesburg - The Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) is considering whether to leave Cosatu as the launch of a new federation draws nearer.

At a recent national executive committee (NEC) meeting, union leaders reportedly engaged in a heated debate on the issue. Fawu has been at odds with the federation since the expulsion of the National Union of Mineworkers and former general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

Fawu general secretary Katishi Masemola said leaders conceded the decision was too big to be made by the NEC and left it to the union's congress, which is expected to be convened in five weeks.

However, he said it was agreed that Cosatu had degenerated into something “alien” to its known culture, but despite this if workers at the congress wanted to remain within the federation the leaders would respect that decision.

Cosatu said it was not aware of any Fawu NEC decisions, but it had initiated communication with the union requesting a meeting over its current standing in the federation.

Fawu is also expected to defend the NEC’s decision to expel six provincial leaders from the union in court next Thursday.

The leaders were found guilty of sowing divisions within the union by organising a meeting last year, to draft a letter to the union president compelling him to convene a special NEC.

“The issue was the fact that they did not have a mandate to convene the meeting.

“When they wrote the letter, they created divisions, which began to unsettle unity within provincial structures. All we expected was an apology and for them to distance themselves from the discussions,” said Masemola.

Labour Bureau