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Shopsteward Volume 27: Special Bulletin

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Congress  |  Miscellaneous

Programme of Action

Adopted by COSATU Special Congress, 20 August 1999

  1. This Special National Congress has adopted a comprehensive programme of action to take forward resolutions and declarations adopted. These resolutions are consistent with the purpose for which this Congress was held. We have adopted resolutions on the Alliance Programme and the Consolidation of COSATU for the New Millennium. In addition, we adopted declarations on the current job crisis, the public sector dispute, tariffs, labour market, the liquidation of the ERPM mine, the retrenchment of 10 000 workers in Harties, and on the Alliance.

  2. We have called for a special Central Executive Committee to consider and adopt a programme with concrete dates. These dates should be timed so that workers are protected against possible victimisation and dismissal. The Section 77 notice that COSATU has submitted to NEDLAC should be pursued for this purpose.

  3. The Central Executive Committee should, within the broad parameters of the programme below, ensure that COSATU fights for the vision of all resolutions and declarations.

  4. In general, the Central Executive Committee should develop a concrete programme to brief working class families and communities, the Alliance, NGOs, churches and the Mass Democratic Movement on the current situation regarding job losses and the extent of poverty amongst workers. This will be done so that these formations understand these issues and support the programme of action adopted below.


Congress endorses a programme of rolling mass action to bring job losses into the public focus, to unite workers and the unemployed in defence of jobs, and to put pressure on employers and government to give effect to the decisions of this Congress.

This programme of action has three components: sector action, provincial action and federation wide national action.

  1. A campaign at the shopfloor: industry by industry: every week we focus on a new sector, with action in defence of jobs and labour rights:

    Gold mining
    Public sector
    Paper and print
    Coal, platinum and diamond mining

  2. Provincial action: a rolling mass mobilisation staggered in all our regions, the length of which shall be determined by the CEC.

  3. If our demands as set out in the resolutions and declarations are not met, the CEC should call a general strike at a national level and decide on its duration.

Congress further declares:

  1. To support the general strike called by the public sector unions on 24 August 1999. We call on members to support this strike by joining the marches. We further call on all our affiliates to organise workplace demonstrations demanding that the government stop undermining collective bargaining and that the government return to the negotiations table so that the current deadlock can be resolved.

  2. Should the public service unions call for further action in support of demands contained in the declaration on the public service dispute, the CEC is directed to find mechanisms of secondary strike by the rest of COSATU affiliates in support of our members in the public service.

  3. To support affiliate campaigns and action on job losses, including the section 77 action of SACTWU on tariff reductions and the campaign by TGWU.

  4. Call for a moratorium on retrenchments until the sectoral summits are held. The summits should be held not later than the end of 1999.

  5. The CEC is directed to immediately improve coordination of the current affiliate struggles for a Living Wage and for Job Retention.

  6. National Congress calls for the boycott of all products of companies where there are currently strikes. This will include refusal to handle products of these companies until the disputes are resolved.

  7. Call on the Job Creation Trust to assess if it can intervene to save the 5 000 jobs at ERPM.

  8. Call for the immediate convening of the Tripartite Alliance to discuss issues raised in the Alliance declaration and the declaration on public service disputes and to take forward discussions on the Alliance Programme.