Saftu general-secretary Zwelinzima Vavi File picture: Getrude Makhafola/ANA Pictures
Johannesburg – The new SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) are cooperating through campaigns to fight unemployment and a commemoration of the Marikana killings in August.

Saftu general-secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said the two organisations would lead a "biggest mobilisation of working class" to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to demand jobs.

"The national executive committee agreed to work with Amcu to launch this campaign. The campaign shall in the main focus on our demand of the total banning of labour brokers and all outsourcing. Saftu will be with Amcu to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the first massacre under the ANC government on August 16," Vavi told reporters in Johannesburg, after the trade union federation held its first executive committee meeting.

Amcu, an independent union led by its president Joseph Mathunjwa, gained ground in the mining sector, especially in the platinum belt of the North West, during the lead up to the Lonmin strike and subsequent Marikana massacre that saw 34 miners gunned down by police on 16 August 2012.

Mathunjwa is a former shopsteward of rival union, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), but left the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) affiliate to form Amcu, setting off a fierce contest for mine workers membership with NUM.

When asked whether Amcu would soon join Saftu, the federation's deputy secretary Moleko Phakedi, said the matter was "under construction".

"Whether Amcu will or not join is work under construction, we will continue to engage with Amcu," he said.

The federation plans to launch provincial structures by November this year and have the establishment of an organising operations centre to coordinate member recruitment and campaigns. The drive to recruitment workers from other federations, including Cosatu, was now in full swing.

"We have set a target to grow our membership and reach one million by the end of the year. [Cosatu affiliates] Safpu and Sassawu are going to congress in June, we hope this matter will be open to a democratic debate and let workers decide whether they want to continue belonging to sweetheart unions or to a militant worker-controlled federation...we have no doubt they will go for the latter," said Vavi.