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Numsa rejects call to return to Cosatu fold

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim.Image:Werner Beukes/SAPA

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim.Image:Werner Beukes/SAPA

Published May 4, 2022

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The National Union of Metal Workers of SA (Numsa) has rejected a public invitation from Cosatu to come back to the beleaguered, tri-ANC aligned federation.

In a media interview on Monday, Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi said the federation was talking to some unions that had left Cosatu, with the intention of persuading them to return to the federation.

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Losi said there were some unions which had joined Cosatu from other federations as well.

Numsa was once one of Cosatu's biggest and strongest unions, but had left the federation due to differences in political ideology and some tensions with the leadership of Cosatu.

In a statement, Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said they would never return to Cosatu despite Losi's proposal.

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"We want to state very clearly for the record that there are no talks, and there have never been any talks by the leadership of Numsa to negotiate a return to Cosatu. This is clearly a campaign by enemies of the union to drive a wedge between the union leadership and its members," Jim said.

He said despite the difficulties that Numsa faced when it was expelled from Cosatu, the union had managed to create a name among respected trade unions.

"Numsa has managed to maintain its independence and its militancy, and has achieved some gains," Jim said.

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Cosatu is expected to have its elective congress this year, where policy and other matters will be discussed. Among the issues Cosatu faces is whether the federation’s alliance with the ANC is beneficial to workers.

The booing of President Cyril Ramaphosa in Rustenburg at the weekend has also raised questions about the strength of Cosatu unions and the federation’s relationship with the state and capital.

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga told The Star that Cosatu was facing challenges from all sides, including tensions in the tripartite alliance. He said there was simply no reason for Numsa to return to Cosatu.

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“Numsa is doing well where they are. The only thing is Cosatu is now becoming like a public sector union. A lot has changed; they have lost Numsa and employment conditions have changed and they have political challenges. They might just have to re-evaluate their alliance,” Mathekga said.

@TheStar_News

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