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National Congress | Reports
to COSATU 6th National Congress, September 1997
- REGIONAL REPORTS
- PARLIAMENTARY OFFICE
- INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
Establish a single farm workers union
Establish a single public sector union
Establish a single transport union
Build women leadership
Develop a sexual code of conduct
Move towards self-sufficiency
Set up a committee to spearhead the debate on industrial and geographical demarcation
Set up a trade union institute to build capacity.
PPWAWU, FAWU and SACTWU would, for a period of three months, continue to pay the salaries of their former organisers who had been inherited by the new union;
COSATU would waive payment of subscriptions by the union for six months, pay the salary of the General Secretary as well as accommodate the head office and most regional offices free of charge.
COSATU and some unions donated cars, furniture and finance to meet start-up costs.
negotiations on the transfer of membership, stop order facilities and other assets previously held by FAWU, PPWAWU and SACTWU;
negotiations on the transfer of recognition agreements existing at the time of the launch as well as new ones;
streamlining and harmonising the different conditions of employment of the organisers and the General Secretary previously employed by COSATU, FAWU, PPWAWU and SACTWU;
recruiting and consolidating union membership in the face of resistance by employers, many of whom belong to the Freedom Front; and
becoming self sufficient in order to carry all of the union`s obligations, including affiliation fees to COSATU.
While clause 5.2 of the constitution says that "affiliated unions shall remain autonomous bodies governed by their own constitution but will abide by the constitution and policies of the federation", it is worth noting that the political will to force the unions to merge was lacking.
Parallel discussions on demarcation played a role in the CEC being hesitant on the route to follow.
- Maintain the status quo: In other words, 12 industrial unions. This includes maintaining separate agriculture, construction and mining unions, and 5 manufacturing unions, but creating one private sector service union, excluding transport and telecommunications, and forming one public sector union. Although more motivation is required, one submission argues against any amalgamation in the manufacturing sector on the grounds that the union will be too big and that it may lead to splits later on.
- Partial pipeline: This model also argues for separate agricultural and mining unions. In one version, mining is joined with electricity, and in another by all forms of energy. In one version, construction merges with metal, and in others it is maintained as a separate sector. There are also variations in manufacturing. One version combines the manufacture of clothing, drugs and food with their retail, whilst another separates the manufacture of food and its retail from the manufacture of clothing and its retail, combining the metal, chemical and paper/wood sectors. There are variations in private services. All agree to separate transport and telecommunications unions, but with differences regarding where finance goes. In some cases finance links to the rest of private service, and in another it links to telecommunications (because of the similarity of the technology used). All agree to one public sector union, with one variation including private health and education (on the basis that these should be state functions).
- Co-operation and/or merger: This entails grouping all the current affiliates according to 4 broad sectors: primary (agriculture and mining), manufacturing, private services and public services. This model suggests that affiliates in each sector should co-operate with each other and develop common programmes of action (though there is a need for more detail). Each sector would be represented at COSATU level. The motivation for this model is a caution about the consequences of mergers, the importance of drawing unions outside COSATU into a particular sector for the purposes of co-operation and that the service sector is set to expand whilst manufacturing, mining and agriculture are likely to decline. It emphasises the need to develop strong service unions. The process of co-operation may lead to merger.
Source: P-E Survey
Source: P-E Survey
- The need to prepare for rallies timeously;
- The need to turn the rallies into family gatherings instead of just having long speeches;
- The need to combine speeches with other activities like sport and culture;
- The need to provide transport for outlying areas;
- The need to decentralise rallies to make them accessible to most workers and to avoid high transport costs;
- The need for affiliates to mobilise their members instead of relying on COSATU regions alone;
- The need to involve our Alliance partners in mobilisation and preparations.
- Representation in decision-making structures;
- Research on gender issues;
- Development and implementation of special extended education and training programmes targeting shop stewards, staff and leadership.
- Understanding women`s oppression
- South African legislation affecting women workers
- Negotiation skills
- Assertiveness and public speaking
- Report writing
- NEHAWU has adopted a policy of 50% women representation in all its decision-making structures; we have yet to see the fruits of this decision.
- SACCAWU’s Regional Gender Co-ordinators are ex-officio members of the union`s NEC.
- SADTU’s Regional Gender Co-ordinators are part of all the NEC workshops.
- Women at work: A survey and recommendations on aspects of South African women’s position in the workplace;
- Union glass ceiling: The under-representation of women leaders in COSATU;
- SACCAWU – research on childcare provision;
- SADTU – women representation in decision making (a case study);
- FES – the situation of women workers in the Southern African Region, for ASATUW Forum Conference;
- COSATU – for the September Commission.
- Development of the Code of Conduct on Sexual Harassment for the federation and affiliates, adopted in 1995;
- COSATU’s participation in 1994 and 1995 in the process leading up to the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, in Beijing, China, in September 1995;
- Submission to Parliament on the Termination of Pregnancy Bill (1996);
- A rally in KwaZulu Natal on Violence against Women (1996);
- The change of name from National Women Sub-Committee to National Gender Forum (1997).
- mechanisms to promote women into leadership positions;
- mechanisms to put gender issues on the agenda of constitutional structures;
- gender sensitivity programmes.
- Women and globalisation;
- Building the organisation;
- Women and work;
- Women`s struggles and the need for a strong women’s movement;
- Integration and implementation process.
- the right to access to information;
- the right to picket;
- the right to fair labour practices;
- the right of every worker to form and join a trade union and participate in the programmes of a trade union; and
- the right to strike.
- develop a nationally recognised system of education and training;
- to work towards the transferability of skills between and across industry;
- to link grading to training and pay as a reward;
- that trade union education should be promoted in school curricula and other forms of media coverage;
- to work towards the removal of barriers that restrict workers’ access into education and training;
- to ensure that an integrated system of education and training is linked to economic and labour market planning;
- to improve workers’ wages and reduce the disparity between low and highly skilled workers.
- SAQA is in the process of discussion to decide on the type of qualifications that should exist in the country. Some argue that there should only be one type of qualification while others are in favour of two types with different requirements. Business wishes to see this as narrow as possible, while COSATU has argued the inclusion of certain core areas including communication, numeracy, health and safety.
- inadequate infrastructure in affiliates;
- the lack of clear guiding documents in unions in line with the COSATU manual;
- a lack of human resources in this regard, except a few unions;
- the COSATU manual being too technical and complex;
- a lack of campaigns, networking and sharing of information among affiliates and comprehensive training around technical areas.
- nursing education and training
- higher education and training
- general education/schools
- nurses curriculum
- grades and salaries
- career pathing
- the nature and character of the new nurses body
- draft legislation from government
- formulation of a NEHAWU policy document.
- Legal Skills
- Negotiations skills
- Organisational Management
- Gender Studies
- Political Economy
- Organising skill
- Global Economic Context
- Training, Grading and Affirmative Action
- Work organisation
- Productivity / Efficiency
- Examining the context for education
- Planning programmes
- Designing material
- Designing workshops
- Methodological Approach
- Change management
- Administration systems
- Team work and team building
- Planning education events
- Linking education to organisation
- Theory of adult education
- Practice in delivering workshops
- Using teaching aids
- The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)
- Work environment and monitoring of hazardous conditions
- Dealing with incidents
- Capitalism, patriarchy and the sexual division of labour
- Sexual Harassment
- Overview of the LRA/Green paper of Employment standards
- Affirmative Action
- Public Speaking and Assertiveness
- Report writing and minute taking
- Typing and computer skills
- Filling systems
- Writing reports and minute taking
- First Semester: Foundation Course, Organisational Management and Health and Safety.
- Second Semester: Foundation Course, Reorientation in Political Economy, and Health, Safety and the Environment.
- First Semester: Foundation Course, Administrators, Collective Bargaining and Basic Educators.
- Second Semester: Organisational Management, Advanced Educators and Collective Bargaining.
- Accreditation should not be central to our education delivery but should be one of the possibilities that can be linked to some of our courses.
- We should participate in every area of standard setting if we are looking into the question of accrediting some courses. We should be in control of education for labour and ensure that we influence the content even of courses run in different workplaces.
- We should have a unified approach as labour on the issue of accreditation as this should not be used to divide us and make us deviate from our diRECtion. Our programmes should be geared towards the development of organisation and not focused on individuals.
- We should create an environment within affiliates for proper education delivery and capacity building.
- Understanding the unions
- History of unions
- Policies and constitution of unions
- Research and policy matters
- Organisational Management and administration
- Organisational development and building
- Women leadership
- Health, safety and environment
- Educators training and development
- The Southern African Labour Market
- Re-organising the workplace
- Social security and employment creation
- Carltonville: The local is thriving and has the strong backing of the organisers forum in the area. The recent REC saw this as a good move and resolved that all locals should operate in a similar way.
- Klerksdorp: The local has been at the forefront of implementing national and regional resolutions. Despite several set-backs due to poor attendance, the local continues to function quite well.
- Lichtenburg: After the 1994 elections, it was hard for this local to function as workers in the area felt there was no need for a local. However, when we embarked Employment Standards campaign recently, this local was re-launched.
- Mafikeng: Several attempts to locate organisers in this local to back up the elected LOBs have been in vain. The local lacks organisational and political education. Our next LRA workshop will focus on this local.
- Parys: This local is very small but with strong members from affiliates. Our 1996 regional congresses resolved to incorporate it into Sasolburg. However this has not yet been done.
- Potchefstroom: The local is functioning and has been doing well in organising the unorganised since we embarked on a recruitment drive from 1994.
- Sasolburg: The local is not functioning due to number of problems, some of which are linked to affiliates not servicing workers. Only CWIU has an office in the local and plays a role in backing up the local.
- Vereeniging: This local effectively implements regional and national resolutions. It has incorporated the Meyerton local and is functioning quite well. The local a number of experienced shop stewards, including its office bearers.
- Zeerust: The local is strong and has become even more viable since its re-launch. However, most affiliates have neglected it in terms of servicing members. There is racial discrimination at most workplaces in the area and this seriously affects our members. Most private sector workers are underpaid and affiliates have not effectively challenged this. A team of experienced organisers has been identified to attend to workers` problems. A second focus will be to arm stewards with organisational and political education.
- Budget processes and interaction with local government
- Macro-economic strategy
- Gender issues
- September Commission
- Regional Development and driving campaigns
- COSATU policies and the job creation and Social Equity document
- Kimberley: This local is not meeting regularly. It functions only when there are campaigns. Affiliates have since committed themselves to send at least 10 standing delegates to the local to ensure sustainability.
- Bloemfontein: This local functions well although affiliates tend to attend in great numbers when they have problems and then disappear thereafter.
- Harrismith: This local was re-launched this year and is doing very well. It has managed to identify and step in where unions are not servicing members, thereby preventing the emergence of rival unions.
- Bethlehem and Danielskuil: The local is trying its best despite many obstacles.
- Warrenton, Postmasburg, Ficksburg, Clocolaan, Wesselsbron, Springfontein, Sishen, Kuruman, ThabaNchu: These locals all have a history of existing for short periods of time only, due to their rural location.
- Welkom, Viljoenskroon, Qwaqwa, Odendaalsrus, Taung, Kroonstad, Virginia, Jankempdorp, Bultfontein, Frankfort, Victoria West, De Aar: These locals are fairly consistent in meeting.
- Leadership training
- Basic shop stewards` training for affiliates which do not have capacity
- LRA and Employment Standards Campaign to build and strengthen the region.
- Transformation of the State (the Alliance is working on a programme to achieve this objective)
- Anti-crime Campaign
- Building the Alliance
- Cuba Solidarity Campaign
- We have established a policy unit and research unit to interact with COSATU policy.
- The establishment of fully-fledged, well-equipped and resourced Child Protection Units in the townships;
- Perpetrators of crimes against children and women should not be granted bail;
- Street children must be treated with sympathy by the police;
- Child abuse cases must be declared a serious crime and the state must oppose
- Special courts should be established for rape victims.
- Only two gender meetings per year are provided for in the COSATU regions;
- Affiliates do not have functional gender structures;
- Affiliates do not have clear educational programmes targeted at developing women;
- a lack of resources (staff, offices, transport);
- the vastness of the region`s geographical area;
- poor working conditions for staff;
- a lack of skills and capacity-building for shop stewards, organisers and administrators;
- a lack of clear educational programmes and functional structures within the unions.
- Affiliates do not have proper systems in place;
- Affiliates have demarcated their areas according to political provincial boundaries.
- The RECs and RCs are effective implementing structures;
- Affiliates are unable to report back and implement COSATU decisions in their grassroots structures;
- The local shop stewards councils are the backbone of the federation;
- The locals cannot debate, propose and second motions at all constitutional meetings;
- The locals are best positioned to play an important role in reporting back, coordinating campaigns and implementing decisions effectively.
- visit affiliates and locals;
- attend Alliance, provincial legislature and local government activities in all four provinces regularly and consistently;
- hold regional office bearers planning meetings consistently.
- Latecoming at the Congresses, which leads to a failure to discuss issues effectively;
- A few affiliates, particularly full-time Secretaries, tend to dominate meetings;
- The large distance from locals like Newcastle, Vryheid, Pongola and Matatiele affects delegates, because they often travel the whole night.
- Vryheid: This local was launched recently and the level of organisation and interest in COSATU is high because these workers were neglected for a long time by affiliates. SACCAWU came to our rescue by setting up an office which is now helping other affiliates in the area. The local office bearers are new but are very active in COSATU activities.
- Newcastle: This local has existed for many years but has failed to effectively rise to the occasion because most of the workers are from ISCOR and the textile industry and many work night shift. Staff members are very active in directing this local.
- Ladysmith: This local has existed for a long time but affiliates have failed to send their shop stewards to the local`s meetings. The biggest unions in the local are SACTWU, NUMSA and SACCAWU. Staff meetings have not taken place very often.
- Pietermaritzburg: This local was very strong in the past but of late has experienced serious problems. This led to the local changing the days for meetings, opting for meetings over the weekend. However this has not helped the local because shop stewards fail to attend meetings. Staff meetings are still taking place.
- Pinetown: This has been a consistent local and most of the leadership come from this local. Local meetings are no longer held weekly as attendance was beginning to decline. Staff meetings are not taking place due to affiliate`s failure to members. Big unions in this area are NUMSA, SACTWU and CWIU. However, SACTWU fails dismally in attending these meetings.
- Durban Central: This is an important local in KwaZulu Natal but it is struggling to survive because shop stewards are not willing to come to local meetings if they take place after working hours. Meetings held during working hours have had a good turnout. Staff meetings have been tried and failed.
- Isipingo: This local has been struggling for more than 10 years. All attempts to resuscitate it have failed and we now intend to close it down because dominates affiliates claim that Isipingo is being serviced from Durban. NUMSA dominates the area and shop stewards are losing hope because they attend NUMSA meetings on Tuesday. On Thursday they come back as COSATU without the participation of other affiliates. Other unions operating in the area are SACTWU, FAWU and CWIU, but they fail to attend local meetings.
- Port Shepstone: This local has been struggling to survive because of the high level of violence. Shop stewards find it difficult to be associated with COSATU because of the violence. COSATU and the ANC had offices in the same building but COSATU asked the ANC to move out of the building because members were scared to come to the office because of violence.
- Kokstad: This local has been operating for years. They now face the problem of division over whether the area should be incorporated into the Eastern Cape province or remain part of KwaZulu Natal. However workers are very committed to the struggle in the sense that, even though no union had an office in the area, they united and active. Recently SAMWU set up an office which is servicing all of them.
- Harding: This local came into being as a result of the general elections in 1994. The region was forced to set up a local because workers were desperate and is not a big area. Bigger unions in the area are SACCAWU, NEHAWU, SAMWU, PPWAWU and SAAPAWU.
- Matatiele: The local has been in place for a long time without any assistance from affiliates. Affiliates have been reluctant to set up offices because local membership levels do not justify the employment of organisers and offices. Despite this problem, workers have been able to run the local on their own. NEHAWU, NUMSA, SACCAWU and SAMWU have substantial membership in the area.
- Isithebe: This local is very active, despite the high level of violence in the past. The Alliance won the battle and the IFP was defeated during the local government elections. We have managed to get at least one office in the area despite the IFP active area are NUMSA, SACTWU, PPWAWU, FAWU and SACCAWU. We are hopeful that other affiliates will soon set up offices in the area.
- Empangeni: This local used to be a region and there was an outcry that COSATU let them down by closing the office in the area. The local is not very active and this was shown in the local government election results. Affiliates that are supposed to be active include NUMSA, SARHWU, TGWU, moving SACCAWU, SAMWU and CAWU. More factories are moving towards Richards Bay and it costs shop stewards money to meet in that new area. Staff meetings are taking place in the area.
- Eshowe: This local is new. It was formed after workers demanded it be established, despite the threat from the IFP in the area. There are no affiliates and local offices in the area but there is a local ANC office. Amakhosi and Izinduna are a threat to COSATU in the area and have been found in companies trying to negotiate on behalf of IFP supporters. We have spoken to affiliates, particularly SACCAWU and TGWU, about setting up offices because of the membership they have in the area.
- Pongola: When the merger between South and North took place this local was launched properly, despite a lack of resources. FAWU and SACCAWU are supposed to be active in the area but the IFP is very strong there.
- Escourt: This local was set up just prior to the general elections but it collapsed because of the high level of violence in the area. Workers can hardly shout COSATU slogans because of IFP intimidation. A number of workers have been killed in the industrial area, including some who were killed just after knocking off from work. No arrests have been made.
- The 1994 general elections and challenges this presented to COSATU;
- The Government of National Unity and its implications;
- The mushrooming of new elections as a result of the new LRA;
- How do we consolidate forces to ensure that the spaces left by those we sent to parliament do not impact adversely on the organisation;
- Implementation of the RDP;
- Economic Development to meet the basic needs of our people;
- The link between the 5th National Congress resolutions and the Regional Congress;
- The role of COSATU in the new circumstances;
- How we strategically use the newly created space;
- Local government elections;
- Servicing our membership;
- Peace and stability;
- Focus of our struggle;
- Transport policy;
- Programme for human resource development;
- The new LRA.
- Adelaide: The local was launched in 1995 but appears to have died unnoticed. Unions that have membership in this area are SAMWU, of NEHAWU, POPCRU, CWU and SADTU. Because of the lack of the manufacturing sector, unionisation is very limited.
- Alice: The major union in this area is NEHAWU, as a result of the University of Fort Hare. Meetings are held on a weekly basis during the week. Other unions are SAMWU, SACCAWU, SAAPAWU, NUMSA, TGWU, POPCRU, CWU and SADTU.
- Aliwal North: The local is not functioning properly and therefore weak. However its leadership participates in regional activities.
- Barkley East: This is one of our smallest and rural locals. There are no affiliate offices. Most of the service is conducted through an advice office which operated as a COSATU office. This created serious problems in the past as workers were paying subscription fees after they had signed a "COSATU" joining form.
- Burgersdorp: This is a rural local, often neglected by affiliates because of the distance from main offices. Unions that have a presence here are SAMWU, SACCAWU, POPCRU, CWU and NUMSA.
- Butterworth: The area was heavily affected by the flight of capital following the withdrawal of incentives and subsidies. Unions most affected by this were SACTWU, NUMSA and FAWU. Most other affiliates still operate here as it used to be a major industrial area during the bantustan era. The local still meets on a regular basis.
- Cookhouse: Deep in the midlands, this is one of our weakest locals. The absence of industries here could be a reason. Very few affiliates have a presence here and the local has collapsed.
- Cradock: This used to be one of our major locals in the mid Karoo area, however activity here has weakened.
- East London: One of our strongest locals. It meets on a fortnightly basis. Most of the union leadership comes from this area and the majority of affiliate regional offices are based here. The local is also very involved and influential in the political arena. It has been able to both initiate and participate in local campaigns.
- Fort Beaufort: This local is dominated by the public sector unions. As it is in the rural areas, it has no manufacturing base. SAAPAWU also has a strong presence here because of a fairly developed agricultural base. However the local has problems in organising its activities because of weak affiliate structures.
- Graaf Reinet: In the heart of the Karoo region, this local is among the weakest. Unions that have a strong presence here are SAMWU, SACCAWU, SADTU, POPCRU, TGWU, FAWU, NEHAWU, CWU and NUMSA.
- Grahamstown: This has been re-launched RECently because the previous leadership collapsed. It is now functioning and able to coordinate activities in the area. The majority of our affiliates have a significant presence here, however their participation in the regional structure is erratic.
- Humansdorp: Farming, food, transport and the public sector exist in this area. Poor service by certain affiliates is the major problem.
- Idutywa: The local is situated in one of the smallest towns in the former Transkei. Major unions are SAMWU, SACCAWU, SADTU, NEHAWU and CWU. The local is functioning fairly well and participates in all our campaigns. The leadership is also consistent in its attendance at regional meetings.
- King Williamstown: There is a lack of participation on the part of affiliates and shop stewards in the local meetings. All COSATU affiliates have a presence here, with the biggest union being NEHAWU because of a large civil service based in Bisho. Participation in regional meetings is regular.
- Port Elizabeth: The heart of economic activity in the whole Province, this is one of our biggest and strongest locals. Its leadership is very active in the local campaigns of the Alliance. This is borne out by their strong influence in the politics of the area. Almost all unions have a strong presence in the area.
- Queenstown: This local has been affected by a lack of strong leadership. As a result, the functioning has been weak but efforts have been made to revive the local. Problems exist between COSATU and the Alliance in general, and the ANC, in particular, in so far as support for our campaigns.
- Somerset East: The local has collapsed because some of the leadership that was elected was not drawn from the affiliates, for example, the Chairperson was from an Advice Office. This was not detected by the region for some time. Comrades have been deployed to attend to the problems.
- Umtata: Unions like SAMWU, SACCAWU, SADTU, POPCRU, TGWU, FAWU, other NEHAWU and SAAPAWU play a leading role in the local. While other unions have a presence, their participation in the local is limited. This local is the strongest in the former Transkei region and plays an important role in giving direction in the politics of the area.
- Uitenhage: This local is largely dominated by NUMSA because of the VWSA factory and the supplying industries. Though other unions like FAWU, SACCAWU, CWIU and others have a presence, their participation is weak. It is one of the problematic areas because of the politics of the VWSA factory.
- Engaging provincial government in policy development issues;
- Preparing and planning for the 1994 elections;
- Discussing organisational issues;
- Workplace challenges;
- Provincial Alliance issues.
- An ability to meet quarterly as required;
- The presence of the majority of affiliates at meetings;
- Completing the agenda at all meetings.
- Quality debates at meetings;
- Notices, agendas and minutes have been sent to affiliates in time;
- Affiliates are generally prepared for meetings;
- A desire by affiliates to work collectively.
- An inability to timeously intervene in internal affiliate problems;
- Affiliates not bringing full delegations to meetings;
- Debates are dominated by a few individuals and affiliates;
- Affiliates are not sending appropriately mandated delegations.
- Secunda: SADTU, CWU, POPCRU, SADTU, POPCRU, SACCAWU, NEHAWU, SARHWU
- Bushbuckridge: NEHAWU, FAWU, PPWAWU, CWU
- Delmas: POPCRU
- Leslie: POPCRU, NUM
- Middelburg: SAMWU, CAWU, SARHWU
- Ermelo: NUM, NUMSA, SARHWU, SACCAWU, TGWU, PPWAWU
- Nelspruit: SARHWU, NEHAWU, SAAPAWU, POPCRU
- Nelspruit: SARHWU, SAMWU
- Nelspruit covering the entire Lowveld.
- Secunda covering West of the Highveld.
- Robertson: This local was launched in April with a visit by the COSATU Office Bearers to the area and a number of factory meetings addressed by various Office Bearers. They have developed quite a mature approach to politics but it has been at the expense of losing the local government elections to the National Party. The local is functioning very well and taking up campaigns.
- Ceres: This local has had two attempts at getting started but has been plagued by poor attendance. They have, however, as a core group of shop stewards managed to drive the campaigns reasonably well.
- Caledon: This local has been fairly strong and active and has invited the COSATU Office Bearers to their meetings. The ability to take up the COSATU campaigns have been very good, whilst also focusing on a number of local issues.
- Saldanha: This is a newly formed Local and has a number of very good, experienced comrades. They are starting to build themselves around the Employment Standards campaign and plug into the development forums.
- George: This is a well established Local that has a very good history of driving a number of the campaigns. They have participated in an LRA training session provided by COSATU.
- Worcester: This Local was recently re-launched with an LRA training session. They have generally supported the COSATU campaigns that were coordinated by their affiliate offices. The local has historically been very active in this area on a number of fronts.
- Atlantis: This local has been consistently active both in terms of the local community issues as well as COSATU campaigns.
- Montagu Gardens: This local has been functioning well for close to two key unions active here are CWIU, NUMSA and FAWU, with the smaller unions coming on board more recently. They have taken up both local and COSATU national campaigns.
- Paarden Eiland: At present this local is being convened by a number of organisers from affiliates. The basis of rebuilding the local is the Employment Standards campaign. Progress however has been slow.
- Maitland: This local is being convened by affiliate organisers. The Employment Standards campaign is being used to rebuild the local. Progress has been slow.
- Epping, Lansdowne, Bellville, Stikland: These locals are being convened by affiliate organisers. The basis of rebuilding these locals is the Employment Standards Campaign. Progress has been slow.
- Delft, Mitchell`s Plain, Blue Downs, Elsies River: There is pressure to convene these locals from our members who live in these areas. The key focuses are representation on the local development forums and taking up COSATU campaigns in these areas. The Regional Organiser is coordinating these campaigns.
- Balfour: There have been debates as to whether this local should be serviced by Wits or Mpumalanga region as political, geographic demarcation dictates. Eventually we agreed to maintain the status quo. The local fluctuates in terms of attendance and regular meetings. Meetings are normally attended when there are serious tensions within the Alliance. There is a glaring absence of key shop stewards who understand COSATU policies and its role in the Alliance. This can be attributed to that fact that affiliates are not necessarily servicing their membership in area. Unions that are present include CAWU, SACCAWU, FAWU, that area. Unions that are present include CAWU, SAMWU, SADTU, NEHAWU.
- Heidelburg: This local is fairly active and takes up COSATU campaigns from time to time. SAMWU, FAWU and NUMSA are more active than the other affiliates. This local is respected by the Alliance in that it has deployed leaders to local government structures and plays a critical role in informing the developmental agenda of the area.
- Nigel: Serious problems were experienced in the run up to the 1995 local government elections in that the local was purely used to push certain comrades for local government Alliance lists. The local was also dominated by SANCO activists who wanted to use it for their own agendas. After the elections the local collapsed. Since late 1996, there have been attempts to revive the local, without success. Presently there are comrades who have been tasked with the responsibility of rebuilding the local under the guidance of the Vice Chairperson.
- Brakpan: Since the 1995 local government election, this local ceased to exist. Currently there are attempts to revive the local with comrades from affiliates assisting shop stewards in the area.
- Springs: The local is up and running, however there is a lack of support on the part of affiliates in ensuring that shop stewards and some organisers take the local in the area seriously. The local meets on a weekly basis (Wednesdays) in the KwaThema Civic Centre.
- Benoni: Problems have been experienced around the location of the local that two separate locals used to meet in this area, one in Benoni NUMSA offices) and the other in the township (Etwatwa). This problem was resolved in early 1997, with one local meeting at the NUMSA Benoni offices. Workers are now more united in the area but attendance, of late, has been problematic. The local is to convene a series of workshops at which organisational issues will be addressed and a local programme defined to consolidate the local.
- Boksburg / Vosloorus: The local in Vosloorus has collapsed. There are discussions in the area to shift the meeting place to Boksburg and use council facilities organised by SAMWU shop stewards. Unfortunately this local is still not fully functioning despite the fact that comrades are meeting from time to time in an endeavour to establish the local.
- Germiston: This local functions, although attendance by shop stewards and organisers is poor. Letters and pamphlets were produced to try and sensitise affiliates to send comrades to the local meetings, but this did not succeed. LOBs were charged with the responsibility of coordinating alliance activities and informing other COSATU locals in the East Rand. Unfortunately this coordination is not yielding positive results in that the Alliance is not debating issues jointly.
- Johannesburg: This local is the best and most functioning local in the region. It has produced capable leaders and a core of activists. LOBs are solid and run the affairs of the local effectively. Comrades are participating effectively in Alliance meetings as well as other fora, in particular the Inner City Forum, where issues relating to the revamping of Johannesburg and the surrounding townships are discussed. However, consistent attendance on the part of affiliates remains a problem, except when workers are experiencing pertinent problems with regard to their workplaces.
- Thembisa: Second to the Johannesburg local in strength, well managed by the LOBs, who meet regularly in preparation for local meetings and other meetings outside of COSATU. Comrades are influential in Alliance processes and have established healthy relations with other Alliance partners despite organisational weaknesses. ROBs are often requested to present inputs on key COSATU policies from time to time.
- Randfontein: This local was re-launched in late 1996 with SADTU, SAMWU, FAWU and NUM comrades playing a leading role. Affiliates as NEHAWU, SACCAWU, CAWU also committed themselves to strengthening the local and making it sustainable. Unfortunately the local is no longer meeting as regularly and workers are complaining of lack of service by affiliates and that organisers are not taking worker problems seriously. Presently the local is meeting on an ad hoc basis without clear dates and days for meeting.
- Alexandra: This local is presently in the process of revival.
- Roodepoort / Krugersdorp / Bekkersdal: The situation is similar to that of Alexander. There is a problem if identifying reliable comrades who will commit themselves to establishing the local in this area.
- Chapter 6 dealing with the Social Plan;
- Chapter 8 dealing with the Employment Equity;
- Chapter 9 dealing with Labour Migration;
- Chapter 10 dealing with an Accord for Employment and Growth; but that further debates be held on this, given the controversial and thought-provoking nature of some of the issues.
- Convention num 87 and 98 on Freedom of Association;
- Convention number on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining;
- Convention number 29 on Forced Labour;
- Convention number 105 on Abolition of forced labour;
- Convention number 175 on Part Time Work; and
- Convention number 111 on Discrimination (Employment and Occupation)
- Extends the category of employees` claims that are privileged to include holiday pay, severance pay, employer contributions to pension, provident, medical schemes or other similar insurance funds, as well as up to three months salary or wages.
- Increases the privilege enjoyed by employees` claims so that employees` claims now rank ahead of the claims of the state for unpaid statutory obligations (for example, contributions to the Unemployment Insurance Fund [UIF], unpaid tax deducted from employees` wages, and unpaid customs duties).
- Ban on child and forced labour.
- The right to organise and collective bargaining.
- Freedom of association linked to the above.
- Up to R800 R15 000
- R801–R1 500 R12 000
- R1 501–R2 500 R 9 500
- R2 501–R3 500 R 5 000
- Up to R800 R15 000
Monthly income Subsidy amount
- We have argued for a massive increase in rented housing provided by government to the poor. The current programme of housing relies completely on individuals buying their homes. In the past the major housing expansion programmes were initially done through rental stock.
- We have proposed the setting up of a housing parastatal to coordinate housing delivery by the private and public sectors.
- We have proposed new mechanisms of funding that include the use of prescribed asset requirements on the insurance and retirement industry.
- We have proposed that the target of housing construction be set at 300 000 houses per year, over a three-year period, with a mixture of private and public funding to support this programme.
- There are SOEs that would perpetuate the apartheid divide and retaining them would simply continue to entrench past inequalities. These should be identified and disposed of.
- Others may require the involvement of the private sector (in a limited form) based on the need for capital, new technology, enhanced delivery etc. Where there is a compelling case for such an approach, the Federation would be willing to consider the involvement of the private sector. In such a situation, the state should remain the majority shareholder rather than withdraw from such a sector or activity.
- In pursuit of the need to involve the state in production, new enterprises and sectors need to be established. Examples would be in housing and health, where the current system is failing.
- Furthermore, as envisaged by COSATU’s 1995 Economic Policy Conference and the RDP, where the balance of evidence points to the need for strategic nationalisation, there must be political willingness to follow this route.
- Transport / Transnet: SARHWU, TGWU, SALSTAFF, SAAPA, etc.
- Sun Air: It will be sold to a Retlhabile / BA / Comair consortium.
- ACL: An SEP has been agreed to. Up to 49% of the equity is to be sold. The proposed allocation of equity is SEP up to 20%, NEF: 10%, Empowerment bidders: 10%, Employees: 9%. The proposed closing date for tender submission was 14 July 1997.
- SAA: Labour and government have agreed to an SEP. The RC’s constitution has just been agreed.
- Metrorail: Labour and government have agreed to reposition Metrorail from Spoornet to an independent division of Transnet. There is an in principled agreement to a pilot concessioning to a private operator of the rail network.
- Autonet: Proposals for restructuring of Autonet from both management and labour are under consideration. Government is due to respond to SARHWU’s proposal at a special bilateral. Government is proposing that corporatisation should commence shortly.
- Aventura: SACCAWU, Hotelica & SAIWU (independent)
- Land claims
- Revision of section 4(1) (b) of the Overvaal Resorts Act to remove the 20% restriction on the foreign shareholding percentage
- Legal advisor on transaction
- Completion of the process is anticipated in early 1998.
- SAFCOL: SAAPAWU, PPWAWU & amp; FAWU, (Independent unions)
- SAFCOL should be restructured as a whole and not in parts
- an international trade investor(s) should be sought and
- empowerment groups and employees should become major shareholders.
- Labour wants government to remain as a shareholders and
- Labour wants the international trade investor to be bought in only at the level of the subsidiaries of SAFCOL rather than as a controlling shareholder in SAFCOL itself.
- Resolution of land claims
- Dealing with the pension fund deficit .
- ESKOM: NUM, NUMSA, SAMWU
- Line above: individual taxation
- Line below: other taxes allowed
- single legislation on health and safety for all workers
- single coordination at ministerial level
- restructuring, additional employment, training of the inspectorate
- ratification of international conventions
- greater enforcement of legislation
- full disclosure from bosses, government
- improving rights of workers and unions in HSE within Acts
- re-examination of compensation levels, formulas to be revised
- streamlining of inquiry system
- the right to refuse unsafe and unhealthy work
- job security, retraining and re-deployment of workers with permanent disability. Appropriate rehabilitation centres
- disbandment of NOSA and cessation of government funding.
- extension of compensation to all workers
- develop national standards for development of codes of investment
- cradle to grave principle
- polluter pays
- ratify and implement international standards and conventions
- oppose dumping of toxic waste
- participation by communities
- restructuring of advisory council with full participation
- COSATU to develop policy on coastal management policy, marine policy, forestry policy, pollution control measures, mining dumps, toxic waste
- legislation to prohibit pre-employment screening and testing for insurance
- government to regulate insurance companies through a control body to prevent discrimination
- Adopt the code of good practice
- duties of employers were made more onerous
- the right to information and training for workers
- hierarchy of controls: elimination, engineering control at source, personal protective equipment as last resort
- Provision of consultation in good faith with the representative union on election/selection of safety reps.
- Improved coverage in that all workers are included except domestic. The new Act extended coverage to all employees regardless of earnings. However, the basis for assessment is capped at a certain salary.
- Improvement in that employers must pay Temporary Disability for the first three months and claim it back from the Commissioner.
- LRA: Provisions within the new LRA gave slightly improved protection to workers who are incapacitated through work-related injury or illness. The code of good practice: Dismissals requires employers to pay particular consideration to the requirements of these workers. Unions need to challenge employers who dismiss workers injured at work on the grounds of their capacity.
- Basic Conditions of Employment: The draft Bill stresses the close connection between conditions of employment, hours of work and the promotion of health and safety. The Bill further proposes a general duty on employers to take account of health and safety considerations when arranging working time. This also refers to night work and pregnant workers and requires that the Minister of Labour issue guidelines on the arrangement of working time. COSATU needs to ensure participation in the drafting of these guidelines.
- Prohibition on pre-employment HIV testing: This Bill seeks to prevent pre-employment testing. There is no scientific value in testing for Aids. This Bill gives effect to COSATU’s conference position. The effect of HIV/AIDS epidemic on funds and the possibilities of exclusions for funds need to be explored further.
- Avoiding conflict of interests between promoters and protectors
- Cradle to grave principle
- Equity of access of all parts of society to resources and services, redress of apartheid’s environmental legacies and acknowledgment of duty to future generations` needs
- Capacity building and education.
- Global and international cooperation and responsibility
- Participation by civil society
- Transparency of information
- Integrated planning and environmental management
- Preventative principle
- Recognition of women’s role
- Polluter pays principle
- Sustainable employment
- Waste minimisation and avoidance at source
- Whistle blowers rights
- Right to refuse work
- Participate in plant-level environmental management and environmental audits;
- Have right to divulge information to the public, media or government which concerns illegal pollution on the part of employers (Whistle blowers). This right should be specifically protected by law;
- Refuse to pollute in the case of illegal or deliberate pollution, as an extension of the legal right to refuse dangerous work;
- Have the right to full information about nature and extent of pollution at the workplace;
- Be involved in national and international processes setting broad pollution control policy, especially where this may have an effect on the economy and employment.
- The Federation recognised that a massive education campaign was necessary to inform and educate workers on their rights within the law and the demands of COSATU to change the legislation.
- It identified the need for COSATU to develop a coordinated curriculum for H&S training.
- Government and business were to provide funding for capacity building within the labour movement.
- a commitment to support the endeavours aimed at creating a climate for free political activity in Swaziland;
- a commitment to cause the government to withdraw the controversial aspects of the new Industrial Relations Act;
- a commitment to support the SFTU in the area of capacity building;
- a commitment to supporting the process of winning both short-term demands, including labour-related demands as well as longer term political objectives.
- COSATU continues to raise awareness among its affiliate membership and international allies about the Swaziland situation.
- In collaboration with the Foundation for Global Dialogue (FGD) and the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD), COSATU organised a tripartite seminar on conflict resolution.
- COSATU participated in various missions organised by SATUCC and the ICFTU.
- COSATU held bilateral consultations with the SFTU to improve our working relations and that of our affiliated unions.
- COSATU mounted a blockade on 3 March 1997 in support of the SFTU struggle.
- Through theILO Workers’ Group we urged theILO Committee on the application of standards and the 85thILC session to put conclusions on the Swaziland case in a Special Paragraph. This is the worst form of condemnation of a country by theILO.
- the Nigerian government should accept the would-be leadership of the still to be re-launched NLC;
- to work towards the creation of a climate conducive to free political activity;
- civilian rule should be restored as a matter of urgency;
- to work towards ensuring the release of political detainees, including trade unionists, Obasanjo and Abiola;
- military tribunals should be abolished as a matter of urgency.
- sharing of experiences, resources and skills;
- the exchange of leaderships and shop stewards through joint seminars;
- the secondment of officials to work in their designated areas of expertise with the Dutch-Nordic trade union organisations for extended periods.
- implications of the economic changes that will take place in Cuba, for Cuban workers and the extent to which workers’ rights will be taken into consideration;
- the social dimension of foreign investment;
- privatisation and restructuring of private assets;
- impact of technological change;
- collective bargaining;
- trade union training and education;
- the role of women at the workplace, in unions and in society;
- occupational health and safety; and
- the role of trade unions in the transition period and within the global economy.
- Employment and productivity
- Social security and occupational health and safety
- Union federations and individual unions which participate in the initiative should support core ILO Conventions, in particular ILO Conventions 87 (Freedom of Association), 98 (Collective Bargaining) and 151 (Public Employees). This support should be demonstrated in their organisational structures and practices.
- Unions which are established by the state or are part of the state which seek to control workers in the interests of capital and the state cannot be part of the initiative. The same should apply to unions established with the assistance of employers and are dominated by employers.
- This initiative will include independent unions which are active at the grassroots level in organising and representing the interests of the working class.
- In terms of these principles, this initiative will not exclude or include unions or federations solely on the basis of their political and ideological orientation, or their tactical and strategic goals within their countries which aim to further the interests of the working class. This means that this initiative should be as broad as possible, within the limits set by a clear definition of genuine unionism.
- To the extent that we achieve a principled and broad-based relationship, inclusive of orientation, we will become a forum for intense and creative debate on working class interests.
- In an historical era when the powerful forces of global capital and finance capital, represented by international institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank, are ranged against the working class movement, such an approach is of paramount importance. We must be a catalyst for dialogue and debate as well as strategic initiatives aimed at the protection and renewal of the working class movement.
- The overall anti-apartheid struggle necessitated that the forces for change, of which COSATU was an integral part, warranted solidarity support from various organisations across the political spectrum.
- In the wake of the Second World War, the world was characterised by the East-West sponsored Cold War which also manifested itself in the policies of the international trade union movement.
- As an organisation, COSATU wanted to achieve maximum unity of the trade union movement on the home front.
- To consider the option of affiliation to international trade union centre, subject to the process set out below:
- Engaging the ICFTU and its affiliates to develop an agreement that affiliation of unions should not be based on ideological criteria;
- Engaging the WFTU and its affiliates on the need for a single international trade union centre;
- Engaging independent trade union federations on the need for a single international trade union centre;
- COSATU’s affiliates to engage all ITSs and TUIs they are involved in;
- A decision to affiliate or otherwise be a function of the progress made. Such a decision should be taken by the CEC based on a minimum support of two-thirds majority. Such a decision is subject to ratification by the national congress & quot;.
- trade union and human rights;
- employment creation;
- reform and restructuring of labour market institutions and labour administration;
- labour relations and collective bargaining;
- improvement of labour legislation and upgrading of labour standards;
- improvement of working and living conditions in the rural areas and for farm workers;
- education and training;
- manpower training and human resources management;
- promotion of equality of opportunity and treatment;
- occupational health and safety.
- Trade unions and democratic elections. The idea is to explore the role that unions could play in bringing about peaceful and democratic elections, the importance of establishing voter registration and education programmes whose target is trade union members as well as establishing remedial procedures for resolving undemocratic electoral practices.
- The transition towards democracy and women workers. There was a strong feeling that obstacles that make it impossible for women trade unionists to actively participate in trade union work should be removed. It was therefore resolved that ongoing educational work designed to promote active involvement of working women in trade unions and wider democratic affairs was necessary.
- A trade union approach to conflict resolution. The participants in the workshop felt that there was a need to develop practical guidelines on conflict resolution and promotion of peace and other means of mediation. These guidelines should be incorporated into the ongoing trade union educational programme.
- REGIONAL REPORTS
- PARLIAMENTARY OFFICE
- INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1.1 This report is about activities of various structures, departments and regions of COSATU. Strategic questions, challenges and proposals are dealt with in the Overview section of the report. While this report will not be read at congress, it forms part of the Secretariat Report to Congress. Delegates are free to raise issues contained in this report since it is our account of how we have implemented the three-year programme arising out of the last congress.
2.1 The 5th National Congress and the subsequent CEC programme directed COSATU to:
Below is a summary of how the programme and other areas that arose over the past three years have been implemented.
Farm workers union
2.2 The CEC and EXCO, in pursuit of the congress resolution, helped coordinate discussions between FAWU, PPWAWU and SACTWU on the formation of a single farm workers union. These efforts resulted in the launch of the South African Agriculture, Plantation and Allied Workers Union (SAAPAWU) on 10 February 1995, which is now a COSATU affiliate. Comrades Dickson Motha and Andile Maphekula were elected General Secretary and President respectively.
2.3 In order to ensure the union’s viability and self sufficiency, it was agreed that:
2.4 From the onset, the union faced huge challenges. These included:
2.5 COSATU`s assistance to the union has since come to an end, except that provided by the Secretariat and Organising department. While the union still receives some assistance from theILO and the Danish unions, it continues to struggle. It has not been able to overcome its financial problems; its organisational structures remain extremely weak; it lacks a viable strategy to effect transformation of agricultural policy as well as engage in struggles in defence of its membership. Unless SAAPAWU is able to raise money to pay its affiliation fees, it will not be at this congress, since it is in arrears.
2.6 On the eve of the union’s first national congress in February 1997, the union was financially and organisationally in bad shape. Once again, COSATU affiliates played a crucial role in helping to finance the congress. Most affiliates contributed R5000 while others such as FAWU donated R10 000, as well as granted them a loan, for this purpose.
2.7 SAAPAWU`s membership has been stagnant and has remained at 29 000 since the launch.
Public sector union
2.8 The decision to establish a single public sector union has not materialised. The planned merger congress of SAMWU, NEHAWU and POTWA was postponed three times in 1994, from April to August to November. The pressures of the national elections were often cited as the main reason for this.
2.9 During this period, POTWA withdrew from the process. Their reasons were that their membership was not fully informed of the public sector merger developments and that the privatisation of Telkom was inevitable and would therefore make them a private sector union in the future!
2.10 The privatisation argument was rejected by the CEC in September 1995. At the same time, this raised a fundamental issue related to our organisational and demarcation strategy. For example, SARHWU, which could face a similar situation, argued that they should be part of the public sector unity process as they, like POTWA, were organising in the parastatals. These arguments, among others, brought the question of demarcation to the fore.
2.11 Meanwhile, POTWA was engaged in merger talks with two staff associations organising in Telkom - SAPTEA and PEASA. While the CEC supported this process, it nonetheless resolved that this should be part of the process leading to the formation of a single public sector union rather than a strategy in opposition to the process.
2.12 POTWA, SAPTEA and PEASA have since merged to form the Communications Workers Union (CWU) in May 1996.
2.13 SADTU decided at its congress in July 1995 not to take part in the current public sector unity talks as the idea of a single public sector union had not been sufficiently canvassed with their membership
2.14 While SAMWU and NEHAWU should be commended for continuing with the process, we nonetheless wasted resources since the talks collapsed after the merger congress had been repeatedly postponed. Among the reasons cited for the breakdown were demarcation and sizes of the branches and constitutional issues related to structures, financial statements and budgets. The SAMWU Policy Conference and NEHAWU CEC, whilst agreeing on the need to merge in the long term, both resolved to postpone the process indefinitely while at the same time attempting to enter into unity talks with unions operating in their sectors.
2.15 As was the situation between 1991 and 1994, the CEC has been unable to force the unions to merge. Two lessons were learnt from this debacle:
2.16 All our previous congresses passed resolutions on the need for a merger between TGWU and SARHWU to establish a single transport union. These have not been implemented. The past three years have been no exception. In fact, the merger process did not really take off the ground.
2.17 SARHWU refuses to merge with TGWU if the cleaning and security sectors are part of the new union. On the other hand, TGWU insists that these workers be part of the new union until COSATU finds a new home for them as part of the demarcation process.
2.18 The CEC pleaded with SACCAWU to accommodate cleaning and security workers. SACCAWU agreed to do so and went as far as amending their constitution. However, this fell through when these workers refused to be transferred to SACCAWU.
2.19 Faced with this dilemma, the issue of a single transport union was put on ice pending the demarcation discussions. Since then, co-operation between the two unions in the restructuring process has led to a revival of the discussions between them, with a push by some of their regions.
Industrial and geographical demarcation
2.20 In line with the congress decision, a committee was established to spearhead the debate on industrial demarcation in line with the founding principles of the federation. This task was made more urgent by the overlapping scopes of unions and seemingly intense poaching and counter-organising among affiliates.
2.21 In July 1996, the EXCO resolved that affiliates should place a moratorium on poaching and the extension of their scopes. All affiliates were requested to submit their constitutions to a committee which was looking at demarcation, various scopes of affiliate unions and when their constitutions were amended.
2.22 A subsequent EXCO reconstituted the committee under the leadership of the General Secretary. Most affiliates made submissions to the committee, whose report was tabled to the CEC in April 1997. The committee suggested the three models listed below. These were looked at by the CEC and affiliates undertook to debate them in preparation for the congress. (See also the table on demarcation options on pages 28 and 29 of the Discussion Documents in the Congress Documents: Book 4).
Assistance to affiliates
2.23 A meeting of national organisers, also attended by affiliate presidents, identified CAWU, PPWAWU, CWIU, and SAAPAWU as unions that needed assistance from the federation and other affiliates so as to build their capacity to organise, recruit, service membership and to achieve a clear majority in their sectors.
2.24 Strategies for each of these unions would be developed by a committee comprising affiliate presidents deployed in these unions. Some Presidents of the affected unions were requested to convene meetings to draw up a programme to execute this plan. However, this strategy did not produce results. Some presidents of the targeted unions failed to convene meetings and other presidents failed to attend those meetings which were convened. We were able to do substantial work only with the following unions, based on EXCO and CEC interventions.
2.25 The initial commission set up by the CEC on CAWU did not deliver. Subsequently, the February 1997 EXCO established another one consisting of Gwede Mantashe, Mbuyiselo Ngwenda and Jabu Ngcobo. This commission had sessions with various structures of the union at a national and regional level. This included a breakaway session with the CAWU NEC where a detailed SWOT analysis was conducted. The commission visited most of the union`s regions and tabled its recommendations to the Special EXCO in July 1997. As a result, NUM, NEHAWU and SACTWU have agreed to release experienced organisers to work with the commission until January 1998 to assist CAWU to develop its own capacity. SACCAWU is also assisting with the development of a collective bargaining strategy.
2.26 COSATU has attempted to help stabilise POPCRU since its affiliation to the federation. The main problem is that some in the union have not yet grasped the basics of trade unionism. It lacks policy around most issues. The union`s high turnover of National Office Bearers has meant that the union`s leadership has not had a chance to fully develop. This has impacted on the ability of the union`s constitutional structures to develop policies and to guide the union.
2.27 COSATU`s assistance has focussed on assisting their CEC to develop a programme to address its organisational and administrative capacity and weaknesses. NUMSA has released one of its organisers, who will be working with the COSATU National Educator and Accountant as well as the NUM National Education Officer. Other affiliates have undertaken to release organisers once the programme is implemented. DITSELA is also assisting on Organisational Development programmes. The goal is to develop training manuals for their organising staff and shop stewards, administrative systems and financial policy. The process is ongoing and the CEC and EXCO receive reports on developments.
2.28 Arising from ongoing organisational problems in SADWU, the CEC nominated a commission made up of John Gomomo, Petrus Mashishi and Amon Ntuli to investigate these weaknesses. The commission unravelled organisational crises and concluded that the union had no future without substantial external funding. COSATU head office, together with the commission, played an important role in maintaining unity in the union, as well as in preparing for a congress to decide on the union`s future. Affiliates contributed R5000 each towards the congress expenses, regional visits and to help streamline union activities to service its members. A decision to release experienced organisers to SADWU was aborted after it became clear that the organisation was about to collapse.
2.29 SADWU’s National Congress on 7-8 September 1996 discussed the commission`s recommendations and resolved to dissolve the union. It also resolved that COSATU integrate domestic workers in SACCAWU or TGWU until a permanent home is found for them as part of the discussions on the possibility of a service union under consideration in the demarcation process.
2.30 This did not materialise due to a refusal by both TGWU and SACCAWU to integrate them due to a lack of capacity to service domestic workers. It later became evident that most SADWU regions had not closed down, but were continuing to ask members to pay subscription fees which were not sent to their head office. This issue was discussed in a meeting between the COSATU Secretariat and the SADWU dissolution committee appointed by the SADWU National Congress. This meeting reached a record of understanding, which was endorsed by the February 1997 EXCO, which stated that those regions still operating were doing so at their own risk and that neither COSATU, former SADWU National Office Bearers nor the committee appointed by the SADWU Congress were to be held responsible for any litigation or problems arising from this act of defiance.
2.31 We have also received letters from former SADWU members who are inside and outside of these regional unions accusing us of dumping the domestic workers. They had even requested to come to the Congress, which we refused. They have threatened to come and stage a demonstration at the Congress.
2.32 The April 1997 CEC agreed to investigate the establishment of Advice Centers for the purpose of servicing domestic workers. This investigation is ongoing and its final report will be presented to the November 1997 CEC for finalisation.
2.33 Since the last congress, the following six affiliates were admitted, with a combined new membership of 205 000. This excludes SAAPAWU`s membership, which has always been part of COSATU. CWU’s new membership is nominal, as the bulk came from POTWA.
|SASBO||March 1995||75 000|
|POPCRU||September 1995||40 600|
|SAAPAWU||February 1995||24 000|
|SAPSA||July 1995||15 000|
|IPS||October 1995||11 000|
|CWU||May 1996||40 000|
|Total new membership||205 000|
2.34 Most affiliates in the public sector have experienced phenomenal growth, as shown in membership figures for this congress compared to the 1994 congress.
|SADTU||59 427||146 000|
|NEHAWU||63 835||162 530|
|SAMWU||100 406||116 524|
2.35 The manufacturing unions, on the other hand, have seen only slight increases in membership. This is mainly due to continuous jobless growth and the massive job losses we saw in 1996 and the first quarter of 1997. According to the Central Statistical Services, a massive 171 000 jobs were lost in 1996. In the first quarter of 1997 alone, a massive 42 000 jobs have already been lost.
2.36 This means that, despite the grave and worsening unemployment situation, COSATU affiliated unions have either maintained or increased their membership instead of declining.
2.37 Our total paid-up membership has risen from 1,303,272 at our 1994 congress to 1,763,555 at this congress. This represents an increase of 35%.
Table showing membership increase from 1991 to 1997
|CAWU||30 123||25 461||31 606||+24%|
|CWU||21 467||23 081||40 000||+73%|
|CWIU||45 147||41 462||45 000||+9%|
|FAWU||129 480||121 435||139 810||+15%|
|NEHAWU||18 110||63 835||162 530||+155%|
|NUM||269 622||310 596||310 596||0%|
|NUMSA||273 241||169 598||220 000||+30%|
|PPWAWU||42 962||36 630||49 422||+35%|
|SACCAWU||96 628||102 234||102 234||0%|
|SACTWU||185 740||150 078||150 000||-0%|
|SADTU||-||59 427||146 000||+146%|
|SADWU||16 462||25 149||-||-100%|
|SAMWU||60 304||100 406||116 524||+16%|
|SARHWU||36 243||35 398||37 150||+5%|
|TGWU||33 324||38 482||53 989||+40%|
|TOTALS||1 258 853||1 303 272||1 763 555||+35%|
Membership by sector: 1994
|Public sector||223 669|
|Service sector||224 344|
|Primary industry||336 057|
|Total||1 303 273|
Membership by sector: 1997
|Public sector||484 371|
|Service sector||303 750|
|Primary industry||371 202|
|Total||1 763 555|
2.38 While this growth is phenomenal and unprecedented, we have failed to reach our target of two million paid-up members by this congress.
2.39 The EXCO has already decided on the need for further research and strategies to aggressively recruit unaffiliated unions to COSATU.
Living Wage Campaign
2.40 The Living Wage Campaign is the one area where coordination by both the federation and affiliates remains weak or non-existent. Major battles waged by affiliates tend to be isolated. This leaves striking workers exposed to the strategies of the bosses, who use all their resources, including the commercial media, to weaken workers` struggles. Our demands and issues are often not coordinated across all affiliates. Neither the April 1996 Living Wage Conference nor the national organisers forum have managed to effect improved coordination of these struggles. This lack of coordination prompted the May 1997 Policy Conference to call for centralisation of the collective bargaining strategy. Proposals on the strategy is contained in the Overview Report.
2.41 Has the apartheid-era wage gap been narrowing in recent years.? The answer to this question changes depending on how you look at the question. For example, if you examine the wage gap in terms of historical racial classifications, then the gap has narrowed in the past decade. The table below shows, as an example, the ratio of average wages for African workers relative to those of white workers in manufacturing sectors in various years. The narrowing of the wage gap has slowed dramatically in recent years.
Ratio of White wages to African wages (Manufacturing)
|1985||4,0 : 1|
|1990||3,5 : 1|
|1993||3,3 : 1|
|1996||3,3 : 1|
2.42 Looking at the wage gap in terms of labour market segments instead of historical racial categories gives a different picture. The table below shows the ratio of the wages of the lowest quartile of unskilled workers to the highest quartile of the most skilled workers for the years 1993 to 1996. The wage gap between these different labour market segments has increased modestly over the four years in question.
Ratio of wages of the bottom quartile of unskilled (A1) workers
To the highest quartile of most skilled (DU) workers.
2.43 Top executive salaries have also increased at a higher rate than the wages of the lowest quartile of unskilled workers (see table below). In addition, the average annual increase in top executive salaries has been higher than the average increase of all other staff salaries for the past two decades.
Ratio of wages of the bottom quartile of unskilled (A1) workers
To total average CEO salaries.
2.44 Rallies in six major cities were agreed to by the CEC. Further rallies were organised by regions. This brought the number of May Day rallies in 1995 to 16. A total of 121 520 workers participated in these rallies. This includes more than 70 000 at a rally in Umlazi which was addressed by President Mandela and John Gomomo. The smallest rally was attended by 20 people in Nelspruit. These rallies were an improvement on previous years, in part due to the fact that they coincided with mobilisation around the LRA campaign.
2.45 A total of 20 rallies were held, attended by an estimated 74 700 workers. These figures indicate that, when mobilisation is left to regions alone, with little affiliate involvement, attendance is very poor.
2.46 A total of 23 rallies were held, attended by about 118 450 workers. Again, the biggest rally was the one addressed by comrade Mandela and Zwelinzima Vavi in Umtata, where an estimated 30 000 workers attended. While attendance in 1997 was an improvement on 1996 figures, it remains unsatisfactory. A number of lessons have been learnt from the May Day rallies over the past three years. These include:
2.47 The last congress resolved to build women leadership and participation through among others:
Development of women leadership
The following courses were organised by the federation, as part of the implementation of the resolution:
2.48 A one-week course on Women Leadership Development targeted at gender co-ordinators and women leaders:
The course covers:
2.49 A one-week course per year on skills development:
This course was developed and designed by the National Gender Forum in conjunction with the COSATU Education Department. Members of the National Gender Forum have already undergone training. The next target is shop stewards and active members on the ground.
2.50 Attempts to run gender sensitivity programmes forEXCO delegates did not materialise because affiliate`s leadership failed to attend. Attempts to organise similar workshops did not materialise and no further ones were arranged. This was rather unfortunate. It reinforces the perception that, because constitutional structures are male dominated, they are not sensitive to gender issues including the need for development of women into leadership positions.
2.51 The above notwithstanding, the development of the COSATU Code of Conduct on Sexual Harassment and COSATU`s submission on abortion helped sensitise CEC delegates on gender issues since they had to take decisions on these matters.
2.52 Attempts to build gender sensitivity have been also been made through including gender studies in the Organisers Course as well as articles in The Shopsteward on gender issues, including one by General Secretaries of NUMSA, NEHAWU and NUM.
2.53 Women administrators and organisers attend staff development programmes aimed at improvement of skills so as to handle situations they are confronted with in their daily work and activities.
Representation of women in decision-making structures
2.54 Despite these measures, the representation of women in leadership positions has not improved over the past three years. With the demise of SADWU, there are even fewer women in leadership positions in COSATU and affiliates. NALEDI Research found that only 9% (6) of at the COSATU CEC are women while 91% (76) NALEDI few women have been elected as National Office Bearers in recent affiliate congresses.
2.55 However, some affiliates have made progress in this regard:
Research on gender
2.56 In line with the congress decisions, two researchers were NALEDI to focus on women/gender issues. Areas of research were identified, leading to the establishment NALEDI of the Women and WWork project. This research produced the following two reports:
2.57 Other research work done by NALEDI’s gender researchers include:
2.58 The project has been extended for the next three years. This should allow affiliates to use it fruitfully.
National Gender Forum
2.59 This forum, which is held twice a year, continues to function well with good attendance. Its primary role is to develop recommendations for consideration by theEXCO or CEC. Some of its recommendations which were discussed and ratified include:
Regional Gender Forums
2.60 These forums are also held twice a year. While they are all functioning, they face some difficulties due to a lack of co-operation from the affiliates. Most affiliates have no regional gender structures and regional gender budget allocations. This results in the regional gender forums functioning in a vacuum as their interaction is limited to the REC.
National Women`s Day
2.61 COSATU has taken part in National Women’s Day celebrations with the Alliance and other women`s organisation. In 1996, COSATU focused on the violence in KwaZulu/Natal, particularly as it affects women and children. A successful indoor rally was held at the Durban YMCA. Affiliates played a key role in preparations and mobilisation for this through releasing Gender Co-ordinators and contributing R1000 each towards transport. The rally helped revive the gender structure in the region, which had almost collapsed.
2.62 COSATU participated in the pre-Beijing Conference preparations and in the UN Conference in Beijing, China, in September 1995. Three comrades represented us and participated in both the NGO and Government Conferences. COSATU is also participating in the post-Beijing process.
2.63 The Annual Southern African Trade Union Women`s (ASATUW) Forum was an FES-sponsored activity with representation by women from national centres in the region. Annual conferences were held in South Africa (1994 and 1995) and Zimbabwe (1996). All three conferences were preceded by national preparatory meetings. The forum was an educational activity dealing with:
2.64 While the forum made recommendations on how to take up these issues, it was up to the different national centres to decide on which of the recommendations to implement.
2.65 COSATU`s delegates to the forum proposed that the SATUCC Women’s Committee be revived, because other national centres were confusing the role of the forum with the SATUCC Women’s Committee. It has since been agreed that the ASATUW Forum should cease to exist and that activities should be integrated into the SATUCC Women’s Committee. approached to convene a SATUCC Women’s Committee meeting as a matter of urgency.
SATUCC Women’s Committee
2.66 This structure has not been functioning, partly because of SATUCC`s financial problems. The SATUCC Executive Committee agreed to hold a Gender Workshop in July 1997 to integrate ASATUW Forum activities into the SATUCC Women’s Committee, to be followed by a Women’s Conference from 11-13 September 1997.
National Women Conference
2.67 The Third National Women Conference was successfully held in May 1996. It was attended by delegates from affiliates and COSATU regions, as well as guests from Southern African and other trade unions internationally.
2.68 Resolutions on the following were adopted and subsequently ratified by theEXCO:
2.69 The National Gender Forum has started with the implementation of these resolutions as well as discussions in the constitutional structures.
2.70 COSATU`s view is that we need functioning Alliance structures to carry out campaigns and to mobilise women behind them. After many delays, a meeting to discuss this and the approach to the formation of a women’s movement was finally held in January 1997. COSATU was also represented at the ANC Women’s League Conference in April 1997.
2.71 Since the last congress COSATU has run a NUMber of campaigns with uneven success. When we were focused, we managed to isolate key demands and rally our membership behind these demands, even at very short notice.
Labour Relations Act
2.72 The 5th National Congress resolved that, together with NACTU and FEDSAL, we should campaign for a new LRA. The LRA Bill, which was unveiled in February 1995, was a giant step forward for workers, despite a number of problematic clauses that we were not happy with. We focussed on these areas in the negotiations and in mass mobilisation that followed. These areas included centralised bargaining, the lock-out, scab labour and respect for majoritarianism.
2.73 Following a deadlock in the negotiations, a campaign was launched to press home these demands. Lunch-hour demonstrations and marches were held across the country during June 1995. The highlight of the campaign was a march in Johannesburg, which was attended by more than 70 000 workers who addressed by, among others, comrade Mandela. While NACTU and FEDSAL agreed to participate in the campaign, the reality is that very few of their members took part.
2.74 Most of the issues were later settled in NEDLAC, except scab labour and the lock out. This advance was made possible by the massive participation of workers in the campaign. The LRA eventually passed in parliament is a victory for workers. Through the campaign, we secured issues such as organisational rights including the right of access and stop order facilities, disclosure of information, the right to time off, closed and agency shops, sympathy strikes, socio-economic protests, bargaining councils and statutory councils.
Local government elections
2.75 As per the directive of the 5th National Congress, a campaign was launched to ensure that the ANC emerged victorious in the November 1995 local government elections. However, COSATU did not participate in the campaign to same extent as it did for the national elections. Nevertheless, our regions and locals played a pivotal role in the local election campaign. Shop stewards were released, workers forums organised and media produced in support of the ANC.
2.76 The ANC won a decisive victory countrywide and gained measurable support in the Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal, the two provinces where it failed to win a majority in the national elections. In KwaZulu Natal for instance, the ANC won all the major cities, including towns like Newcastle. This demonstrated continued support among our people for the Alliance and the RDP.
2.77 Many shop stewards and officials of the federation were elected to these democratic local governments. However, some of demands raised in our last congress have not been secured. For example, our proposal to release shop stewards to serve in local governments while on the pay roll of their companies has not worked in many areas. In the bigger Metropolitan Councils many councillors are full-time. There is also no agreed policy as to our approach to those of our staff members who are councillors or hold public office.
The Constitution-making process
2.78 The drafting of South Africa`s new constitution was central to the debates of our 5th National Congress. Once it became clear that some of our demands would not be met, COSATU took a decision to engage in mass mobilisation around this. The demands included the full right to strike, exclusion of the right to lock-out, exclusion of the property clause, protection of agency and closed shop agreements, mixture of constituency and proportional representation, etc.
2.79 On 26 April 1996, a march was held in KwaZulu Natal and demonstrations were held in other regions. COSATU made history by mobilising workers within three days to stage a highly successful one-day general strike on 30 April 1996. The strike was supported by 75% of the working people, with more than 350 000 participating in marches on the day.
2.80 The Alliance played an important role in ensuring that many of our demands were met. We negotiated as one in the CA and in meetings with business. COSATU also held bilateral meetings with the NP, which were fruitless. With the firm support of the Alliance, workers were poised for a significant victory. On 8 May 1996, the new Constitution of a free, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist South Africa was adopted by the Constituent Assembly. This was a historic victory for the workers and the people of South Africa as a whole.
2.81 Our campaign around the Constitution won, amongst others, the following victories for workers:
2.82 In addition to the above, we secured the right to negotiate union security agreements with employers and ensured the exclusion of the employers right to lock-out from the Constitution. We also won substantial victories on provincial powers, which were substantially reduced; transparency in procurement; education; the right to life and thereby the exclusion of the death penalty. In addition, the constitution allows parliament to adopt charters of rights, such as the Workers’ Charter.
2.83 Business and their lackeys in parliament took the Constitutional Assembly to the Constitutional Court over the exclusion of the right to lock-out and provincial powers. COSATU and the Constitutional Assembly opposed their application. The court`s finding that the lock-out clause should not be entrenched in the Constitution was hailed as a victory by COSATU.
Women and Child Abuse
2.84 COSATU has organised a range of activities to highlight the plight of children and women. Annual activities on June 1, including marches in city centres, have focused on the lack of childcare facilities near industrial areas as well as the dangers facing night shift workers, women in particular, who are exposed to violence.
2.85 In August and September 1995, COSATU organised protest action on women and child abuse. Some of our regions, particularly the Western Cape, played a key role in this campaign and held numerous demonstrations outside courts where cases of children and women abuse were being heard.
2.86 COSATU`s anti-crime campaign launched nationwide on 8 March 1997, focussed strongly on domestic violence, rape and child abuse.
2.87 However, the June 1 campaign remains poorly co-ordinated. Apart from bussing children to the city centres on 1 June every year, the campaign has not been effectively sustained throughout the year. Only a few affiliates have won demands around child care and related demands through collective bargaining.
2.88 Given the high levels of abuse of children and women, we should find a way of linking these to an ongoing campaign, instead of seeing this as a one-day event.
2.89 On 17 May 1996, all major banks unilaterally raised the bank rate by 1% from 19,5%, even though the Reserve Bank had made no corresponding increase. subsequent EXCO decided to challenge this unilateral action, as well as their collusion, since it would set a dangerous precedent.
2.90 On 21 June, together with our Alliance partners and other progressive organizations, COSATU announced a programme of action which would begin with pickets on 13 July to be followed by marches. We also held meetings with the banks.
2.91 A month later, the banks under extreme pressure gave in. Absa announced a reduction of their interest rates which was later followed by other banks. In spite of this sweet victory, South Africa`s real interest rates (15%) remain extremely high. For example, interest rates in other countries are: Australia 6,8%, Spain 5,8%, France 4,7% and Japan 1,5%. We now need to focus on putting pressure on the Reserve Bank to reduce real interest rates, otherwise this victory will be eroded.
Paid time-off for education
2.92 This demand has been on our agenda for many years. It was again re-emphasised at the last Congress and the Living Wage Conference in 1996. Apart from a few affiliates, notably NUM, this campaign has not taken off.
2.93 We have won the demand in the LRA for time-off for union activities. However, this is not sufficient. We need to place this matter firmly on the agenda during collective bargaining and in NEDLAC.
2.94 Whilst COSATU has a pro-choice policy on abortion, as outlined in the RDP, it became clear that our membership lacked a high level of awareness on this policy. As part of our campaign to ensure that women`s right to choose was enshrined in the new constitution, the EXCO decided that affiliates should educate their membership through discussions of the policy in their constitutional structures.
2.95 Having won it in the constitution, the matter was again raised in 1996 when the Minister of Health, comrade Nkosazana Zuma, introduced legislation in parliament. COSATU produced educational pamphlets and statements and made submissions to parliament on the issue. However, we failed to mobilise our members to picket and march in support of our demands and the legislation.
2.96 The new Act allowing for abortion on demand was eventually passed in the face of high-profile marches and mobilisation organised by forces opposed to the pro-choice position.
Health, safety and the environment
2.97 Despite the successful second Health, Safety and Environment Conference in October 1995, we failed to mobilise our members behind the policies that emerged from the conference. This is a serious weakness, given the many deaths and injuries that occur at the workplace. Health, safety and environmental issues are hardly on the agenda of the federation and union constitutional structures. Even major disasters such as those at Vaal Reefs, Deelkraal and Hartebeesfontein have not led to a COSATU campaign on these issues. Only NUM, CWIU, and to a limited extent NUMSA, have taken up campaigns related to health and safety.
2.98 On 7 December 1995, the government announced that a number of state assets weree to be privatised. This was done without consultation and directly contradicted an undertaking by the Minister of State Enterprise not to proceed until an agreement on the issue had been reached with the unions. COSATU convened a special EXCO on 15 December 1995, which called a two-hour work stoppage in December 1995 and a one-day general strike for 16 January 1996. Affiliates such as SARHWU, NEHAWU, SAMWU and POTWA were at the forefront of these actions.
2.99 At the same time, we engaged in negotiations with the government, which culminated in the signing of the National Framework Agreement on the Restructuring of State Assets on 1 February 1996. Individual affiliates, notably SAMWU, have continued to engage in campaigns to ensure that the involvement of the private sector in the provision of basic services does not undermine the public sector or lead to job losses.
2.100 COSATU, like most South Africans, has been concerned by the current high levels of crime. Various meetings with the Department and the Minister of Safety and Security were held in an attempt to address the issue.
2.101 On 8 March 1997, International Women’s Day, an Anti-crime campaign was launched throughout the country, except in the Eastern Cape. Despite poor attendance at the marches, COSATU`s intervention made a significant impact.
2.102 The NEDLAC Development Chamber also took up the matter, leading to a national conference on crime and violence on the 21 November 1996, which adopted a declaration. The national conference was followed by provincial anti-crime conferences.
2.103 Apart from the activities outlined above, COSATU has not sustained the campaign. This has allowed forces opposed to the current political dispensation to be seen as the main voice against crime and to use this to further their own political agendas.
2.104 The Masakhane campaign was initiated by the RDP Council and launched by the Government in 1995. Unfortunately the campaign lost direction as the mass media interpreted it is a campaign aimed solely at getting residents to pay for services.
2.105 The campaign was re-launched earlier this year and again in September 1997 with an emphasis not only on payment but on the need for our people to be central in the process of development of their residential areas. In conjunction with other progressive forces, the Alliance declared the week from 17-21 March 1997 as Masakhane Week. A number of Alliance structures embarked on clean-up operations and other activities during this week, with leadership deployed in different areas to address communities on the importance of the campaign.
2.106 COSATU`s participation in the week could not be accurately assessed. However, the overall impact was not what we expected, and was successful only in isolated areas.
2.107 Continued weaknesses of this campaign include a lack of participation by local structures and the fact that COSATU has not sustained its involvement in the campaign.
Basic Conditions of Employment Bill
2.108 The Green Paper on Employment Standards was published in February 1996, with negotiations beginning in April 1996. After it became clear that business was not prepared to shift from any of its positions, the November 1996 EXCO requested affiliates to discuss appropriate action around the issue. The February 1997 EXCO adopted a programme of action beginning on 21 February 1997 to put pressure on business, and to a certain extent government, to meet our demands.
2.109 Since then, regional and affiliate marches have been held, followed by a general strike on 2 June, which was supported by more than 4 million workers. About half a million workers participated in marches organised by regions, except KwaZulu Natal, which opted for a stay-at-home.
2.110 While we saw some shifts in government`s mandate on issues such as Sunday work and powers of the Minister, the bourgeoisie dug in its heels, calling instead for the Bill to be withdrawn and linked to the planned Job Summit, or passed without taking into account our demands.
2.111 The June 1997 EXCO decided there was a need for a further action, since it was clear that the first medicine was not strong enough. The EXCO agreed on a one-hour work stoppage on 4 August 1997 followed by four days of rolling 24-hour strikes in COSATU regions from 18-21 August 1997. This will culminate in further 24 hour general strikes on the days that business and COSATU make submissions in parliament.
2.112 Like the previous actions, the work stoppage and regional strikes were an overwhelming success, with participation in strike action ranging between 60% and 100% in regions.
2.113 This proves beyond any reasonable doubt that COSATU retains its capacity to mobilise its members and workers generally behind popular demands. Given that our membership is just below two million, the fact that more than 4 million workers participated in our strikes is an indication of the extent of our support.
2.114 The last Congress resolved:
The National Training Board
2.115 The National Training Board (NTB) is a statutory structure meant to advise the Minister of Labour on policy issues relating to education and training, establishment of Industry Training Boards, exemptions on levy payments and activities of regional training centres. In line with our 1991 congress resolution, COSATU has participated in this structure, leading to the production of a document on National Training Strategy Initiatives (NTSI) in 1994.
2.116 The document contained policy proposals on education and training for gradual implementation by government departments. The document`s main thrust was the need to introduce a mechanism for the integration of education and training into a single system. The document also envisaged the creation of a single Ministry of Education and Training. While this objective was not realised, the principles of integration emerged strongly in 1995.
2.117 The document further advocated a qualification system (National Qualifications Framework) which would enable the integration concept to be implemented with care and in a sustainable way. The NQF calls for a new qualifications framework with eight levels and three ABET sub-levels below level one, which is the equivalent of Standard 7, to cater for adult learners outside the formal schooling system.
2.118 While there was no agreement on our proposal for 11 NQF levels, it has been agreed that the sector learning organisations will implement ABET. Trade unions will enjoy full representation in these forums to enable smooth implementation of ABET and to monitor quality.
2.119 In March 1996, the restructured NTB was officially launched. While initial thinking was to restructure the Manpower Training within six months of the Board’s inception, it was later agreed to focus on a new strategy, which resulted in the Human Resource and Development Strategy. This is underlined by concepts such as learnership with multiple entry and exit points. COSATU participation in this took place through the Interim Ministerial Working Group. The IMWG dissolved in 1996 with the inception of the SAQA Board. The majority of stakeholders who took part take in the IMWG, including COSATU, are represented the SAQA Board.
2.120 Alongside the implementation process to enact the NQF Bill, different policy proposals were discussed by the HSRC and the Department of Education with a view to producing a unit standard methodology and a qualification model. Two documents, titled ‘Ways of seeing the NQF’ and ‘Lifelong Learning’, were released by the HSRC and the Department of Education respectively.
2.121 Two of the ten NTB working groups became pilot projects aimed at building the NQF. The projects – the Engineering Manufacturing Pilot Projects - were jointly funded by the NTB and the German Government.
Education and Training
South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)
This authority brings together education and training. Labour is actively involved in its
activities and committees. These include:
National Standard Setting bodies (NSBs)
2.122 These will ensure national standards for all education and training which will enable workers to receive recognition for their experience, and that education and training provided can be nationally recognised to ensure portability.
2.123 Over the past year, COSATU has been actively involved in the standard-generating processes in areas such as engineering, information technology, human and social sciences and technology, as well as other areas of particular importance to affiliates.
2.124 This area is extremely contested, with business ploughing large amounts of resources into buying standards that are narrow and assume a continuation of Taylorist forms of work organisation. Once again, they are attempting to deny workers access to, and recognition for, their knowledge and skills.
Education and Training Quality Assurance (ETQAs) bodies
2.125 These will have responsibility for HRD planning within economic sectors, as well as quality control to ensure the development of programmes which ensure that workers who lose jobs in one sector of the economy can be retrained and employed in other sectors.
2.126 While COSATU has endorsed the ETQAs in principle, demarcation of these sectors still needs to be resolved.
Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET)
2.127 The government has adopted interim guidelines for ABET and established a national stakeholder forum which includes two labour representatives. The guidelines create a framework for delivery, as well as provide interim national standards. These have been implemented over the past year, and we are now in the process of finalising the guidelines.
2.128 We have also assisted affiliates to negotiate ABET agreements. Most affiliates have agreements in place and have begun to link them with broader training agreements as well as the grading system. We continue to provide support for the implementation of these agreements.
2.129 There is ongoing debate about whether the guidelines should be written into an Act to ensure that there is a legal framework. This would help protect ABET from disappearing off provincial budgets now that national government cannot directly influence the provincial budgeting process for social services, including education and training. There are real concerns that government is increasingly pushing ABET off the agenda as a way of cutting the deficit. Thus far all funding for ABET has been donor funding. There is already a problem for 1998 as no funds have yet been raised for ABET.
Further Education and Training
2.130 We are involved in the Ministerial committee and the reference group in a process to develop policy on the further education sector. The further education sector includes formal schooling as well as technical colleges and training centres. It has the potential to impact on the artisan system, through broadening the type of qualifications that are possible at this level, as well as through changing the nature of programmes, governance and funding.
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
2.131 Since COSATU adopted the principle of ensuring that workers receive recognition for prior learning, a number of affiliates have been part of programmes where workers are assessed for prior knowledge. Many of these projects have taken place without full union involvement and have often disadvantaged workers, especially black workers. In some cases employers do not recognise workers existing certificates and insist that workers undergo assessment.
2.132 As a result, COSATU has initiated an RPL project to evaluate what has been done so far and to develop a coherent RPL policy. This involves developing the capacity of shop stewards to actively engage with RPL processes in their industries.
Public Works Programmes
2.133 We have participated in negotiations around the Framework Agreement. However, a number of issues are still outstanding. Agreement been reached that all PWP project workers are entitled to receive training. However, much of this training is still limited, and will not enable workers to find employment after the completion of the projects.
School Governing Bodies
2.134 In line with COSATU resolutions, there is now an Act, the Schools Act, that provides for legitimate school governance structures and compulsory education. The Act was passed in 1996 and provides a legal framework for the democratisation of schools.
2.135 Having won this victory, it is important for COSATU to discuss how it will relate to these structures and the role workers can play in ensuring that the majority of children begin to have access to quality education.
Affiliates grading work
2.136 We have held workshops, briefings and strategising meetings with affiliates around grading. In most instances, these sessions have been a reaction to management proposals on issues related to grading. These unions often come to us on an ad hoc basis rather than having ongoing relationships.
2.137 Issues which commonly come up in these sessions which will require a strategic approach are:
Higher Education and Training
2.138 Areas covered in higher education and training include:
Higher Education and Training
2.139 A Green Paper has been produced for comments and submissions. We have made inputs and have facilitated meetings of MDM structures in the education sector to strategise our positions. NEHAWU and SADTU have participated consistently in this process.
2.140 A major problem is the differing positions adopted by the Committees of University Principals and technikons and their influence on the ministry. We have not impacted effectively in these processes.
2.141 The ministry intends to meet with all stakeholders on issues raised in the Green Paper. COSATU is regarded as separate to SADTU and NEHAWU in the process, since we deal with overall policy issues while the unions focus on issues specific to their members. This often leads to confusion as to whether we should be duplicating what affiliates are doing or let them participate on our behalf.
Nursing Education and Training Transformation
2.142 NEHAWU commissioned three comrades (the nurses core group) to research problems of nursing education and training. The core group focused on the following aspects in the profession:
2.143 The core group proposed a new and more relevant curriculum to replace the current one. This was submitted to the Department of Health.
2.144 As in other areas of the public service, there is a problem of too many grades in nursing. The current hierarchical structure in nursing inhibits career pathing and mobility. The core group have proposed that this be phased out and replaced with a skill-based grading system.
2.145 A new and representative body of health workers/professionals is proposed. Unlike SANA and SANC, it will be inclusive of all health workers but with units / departments which will focus on different categories such as nurses, doctors, radiographers and pharmacists.
2.146 There is a perception among nurses that COSATU does not take their issues seriously enough. At the same time, they do not have a problem in participating in our process, even though they feel that this often tends to focus on those sectors where unions are most vocal.
COSATU Education Department
2.147 Previous congresses created a platform for education in the labour movement to make major shifts and gains in a number of areas. We have achieved a more systematic approach to education that includes a more appropriate balance between political and technical content.
2.148 Our objectives, as outlined by the 1991 congress, are to deliver an integrated system of education that builds capacity in the federation, targeted at staff, membership and leadership, as well as access to higher education and accreditation of our education programmes.
Programmes and delivery
2.149 The past few years have seen major movement of staff in the education department. This has destabilised educational programmes as many educators played a key role in delivery at the regional level and engagement at a national level.
2.150 The huge political strides which translated into legislation necessitated refocusing our education programmes.
2.151 The course is aimed at new organisers as a way of bringing a COSATU perspective organisationally and politically.
2.152 The course is meant mainly for experienced organisers and covers new issues for collective bargaining with management, as well as the global economic context.
Advanced educators course
2.153 The course is mainly targeted at the senior educators who are in positions where they plan programmes regionally or nationally.
2.154 This course is mainly targeted at the heads of departments and secretaries and all those who deal with managing organisation at the senior level. It is meant to assist us in how to manage better.
Basic Educators Course
2.155 The course is meant for worker/organiser educators who deal with education matters as part of their roles. It is meant to assist in building broader capacity for education and training within the federation.
Health, Safety and Environment
2.156 The course was a train the trainer course which was intended to have the end result of making officials in unions more aware of health , safety and environment issues and the legislation around them.
Women Leadership Development Course
2.157 In consultation with our Gender Forum a course on Women leadership was developed. This was to focus more on building strong women leaders within COSATU and its affiliates. It focuses on hard skill as well as content and information relating to women in the labour movement.
2.158 The course was developed to provide higher skills for our administration. Though it was problematic in implementation as there were different levels in understanding and thus expectations.
Activities – 1995
2.159 There was little activity in this period due to the erosion of capacity following the 1994 elections. Regional programmes were the most seriously affected, as most regional educators had left for government and other positions outside the labour movement. In this period the following courses were delivered:
Other activities were mainly around the LRA, including a programme to train affiliate trainers and a workshop for the EXCO on strategic issues arising from the LRA.
Activities – 1996
2.160 The following courses were covered:
New LRA training programme
2.161 We ran a major LRA training programme for regions and affiliates as well as a programme funded by the ILO to train trainers at a national level.
2.162 We ran regional training for about 400 organisers and senior stewards as part of developing COSATU regional executive committees and other regional leadership. In addition, we trained 30 facilitators from regions. However, not all regions participated to prepare for training of stewards and building a pool of trainers.
The above programme was linked to the LRA Stewards Training Fair run in all our regions and targeted at about 15 000 stewards. We now have a pool of trainers on various aspects of the LRA. This has assisted in building internal capacity within affiliates around the LRA, as most of the trainers are now being used internally within affiliates.
LRA resources and materials
2.163 The LRA programme was funded through NEDLAC by the ALC-CIO. We used the resources to develop videos, manuals and a set of training accessories that assisted us extensively in delivering programmes on the new law.
Six video cassettes and a resource manual on the LRA were developed by COSATU`s education department, CDC and other partners. These can be utilised easily by trainers as the material is accessible and includes a section to guide facilitators and trainers on how to use it in workshops.
Management has also been buying the materials and approaching us to assist in training stewards in their companies. We have engaged affiliates on this issue and have agreed with some on how to proceed jointly.
Total numbers trained on the programme
|Northern Province||Stewards||180||Basic LRA|
|E Cape||Stewards||600||Basic LRA|
|W Cape||Stewards||1200||Basic LRA|
|N Cape / FS||Stewards||260||Basic LRA|
|W Tvl||Stewards||380||Basic LRA|
|National||Trainers||28||How to use LRA materials|
|National||Trainers||30||Understanding the new LRA|
|All regions||Organisers||400||Understanding the new LRA|
The above numbers refer only to workshops run directly by COSATU at a regional and national level. Figures do not include affiliate programmes which have extensively used the materials we have developed.
2.164 We also developed a programme working with Africa Growth Network (AGN) to reach out to various institutions where our affiliates are organised. The programme was linked to the existing LRA video material, coupled with an interview with the COSATU General Secretary on the new law. The programme reached over 1000 work stations and at least 13 of our affiliates at various workplaces. These videos are also available as supplementary LRA training material.
Activities – 1997
Establishment of a trade union training institution
2.165 Our 5th National Congress resolution on building the organisation directed us to build a training institution that would develop layers of leadership within the union movement. It was agreed that we should access public funds and ensure that this does not have strings attached.
2.166 Cdes Chris Bonner and Bobby Marie have been employed by the new institution, Ditsela, which was launched in November 1996. The launch was marred only by the withdrawal of NACTU from participation on the grounds that they wanted representation on the Ditsela board equal to that of COSATU.
2.167 The institution is already in the process of delivering various courses this year. These cater mainly for capacity building in unions, as this has been a major problem in our delivery. Research on the feasibility of certification and accreditation of union education is underway, including the parallel implementation of negotiations with various providers of tertiary education.
2.168 We are seeking clarity on various other issues. Among the most urgent is the feasibility of establishing a fully-fledged education institution with various regional centres.
Resources for the institution
2.169 It was decided that Ditsela should not only get funds from the state but should also raise funds from participating federations linked to course enrolment. A range of donors are also seeking to assist in project funding and we are looking into the issue of a development strategy and how we project the institution’s future.
Relations to other providers
2.170 We are looking into the issue of relations to the other trade union training centres (Workers Colleges). We have forged ad hoc relations with them and are in the process of finalising a structured relationship.
Impact of the institution in the initial six months
2.171 Participation by COSATU board members was initially good but has waned with time. In addition, board members change at each constitutional meeting.
2.172 Courses on Advanced LRA training were run in five regions. The main COSATU regional structures and functionaries, as well as some Fedusa participants, attended these. We are also developing a joint programme with IMSSA linked to funds they obtained for arbitration.
2.173 The Ditsela programme for 1997 will take over a number of areas previously run by COSATU. We are also developing a long-term programme linked to the outcome of the coming conference on Accreditation.
COSATU Education Conference
2.174 The COSATU education conference was held in late 1996 to discuss and take forward the role and function of DITSELA, to explore the functions and links between various education programmes as well as the systematic progression from one level to the next.
Overview of policy issues from the conference
2.175 The conference identified seven areas that we need to pursue in order to enhance the capacity of the federation. These are:
Trade union basics
This includes areas that all unions in COSATU should deal with:
Policy development and formulation
Negotiations and collective bargaining
This should also include workplace restructuring, affirmative action and other relevant areas.
2.176 The conference also attempted to clarify what programmes should be delivered by affiliates and the federation and what should be done by Ditsela and other providers.
2.177 In 1997, COSATU ran its first school which included Advanced Educators and the LRA for trainers for affiliates.
2.178 We ran four courses in the Second Semester and hope to cater for about 90 functionaries. We will conclude the year with another course in late October for 70 participants.
2.179 Our focus this year has been mainly on training of trainers but we are still to evaluate whether this approach is working.
2.180 The Education Department was also called on to intervene to assist POPCRU, along with the COSATU organising and accounts departments. However, we need to look into more effective and systematic methods of organisational development delivery and not simply react when a crisis emerges.
Regional strategy workshops
2.181 A programme for COSATU regions that prioritised strategic issues was earmarked for REC delegates and other leadership in regions. Most regions have been doing this, however in some cases this is being done in a repetitive manner without understanding critical elements of the issues they face.
2.182 We have proposed that this issue should in future include assistance from the Head Office with research back-up on regional or provincial issues. There is also a need to develop a network for regions to exchange ideas on common areas.
Overall assessment of the three-year program
2.183 It is important to note that most affiliates relied entirely on COSATU education. Even those that have a strong internal education component utilised our programmes as a basis for their own delivery. However, it has become evident that the more we deliver, the more affiliates tend to become dependent. A recent survey shows that there is less education work in many affiliates than in the past. In addition, many affiliates are shifting education to secondary or non-existent levels of importance in the hope that COSATU will deliver.
2.184 Our approach has been mainly to deliver in numbers rather than on quality. We should explore how to assess the qualitative development of organisation broadly and how to link the development of individuals within COSATU to the overall development of our structures.
2.185 The impact of our education has been high. Most of the courses at our schools have been filled to capacity. Programmes like the LRA training were a major success as we had a huge turnout.
2.186 In the past, much of our education was farmed out to service organisations. We have developed our own capacity to the extent that many affiliates are now part of materials development and the role of service organisations is minimal.
2.187 We have been requested to shift more towards training trainers for affiliates. This approach seems to be the most appropriate. However, weak affiliates are not necessarily weak because they don’t have education programmes, they are weak because they initially do not have educators or people dealing with education. Some do not have the resources to even deploy people to attend the training we provide and, even worse, do not have anyone able to plough this back into the union.
2.188 The major weakness has been the poor support base for affiliate education. Education should filter back into affiliate structures but where there is no organisational support, this negates the training exercise.
2.189 The other problem is that there are so many issues facing us that we tend to want to run quick-fix shows that do not have the necessary impact on the affiliates we wish to assist.
2.190 The high staff turnover in affiliates is another problem and this makes our education program seem like an endless cycle of training that does not benefit or impact on organisation.
2.191 This raises the question of whether our training is another vehicle to prepare people for private sector and state employment.
Information Technology Unit (CITU)
2.192 At the time of the last Congress, due to financial constraints, the METRIC Project had done very little work on electronic communications. While regions had been linked by basic e-mail for the 1994 elections, this was unsuccessful due to lack of training, system instability, and the fact that e-mail was not integrated into federation`s communications procedures.
2.193 Since then, using SANGONeT as a service provider, all head office staff, regions and 16 of the 18 affiliates have been connected to e-mail. Technically, the system is both stable and easy to use, and now provides instant e-mail and Internet access for all head office staff. E-mail has become the official channel of federation document transfer, and is extensively used as a communications tool. Even though initial training has been provided, this needs to be done on an ongoing basis, since skill levels quickly fall, leading to poor utilisation of the system.
2.194 A list server has been established which automatically distributes COSATU press statements by e-mail and fax to press and media organisations, COSATU and ANC structures, and other local and international bodies. This has enabled wide dissemination of COSATU positions and boosted media coverage of the federation.
Information Technology Policy
2.195 The METRIC Project had no involvement in IT policy work. In 1995, the METRIC Project`s successor, CITU, became involved in the establishment of the National Information Technology Forum, a stakeholder sectoral body set up to discuss, agree on and lobby a wide range of information society policy issues. Labour has 20% representation on the NITF executive.
2.196 Through SADTU, CWU, PRU and CITU, we are involved in the development of an information technology national qualifications framework.
2.197 We are also participating in a process where the Department of Communications and DTI are establishing a project with the Canadian International Development Agency to develop an Information Technology Industrial Strategy.
2.198 CITU was also involved in the development of South African positions for the 1996 Information Society and Development conference, and in subsequent initiatives by the Department of Communications and the NITF to take national policy processes further.
Membership and subscriptions system
2.199 At the time of the last congress, our membership and subscriptions system was cumbersome and characterised by design flaws and bugs. The system had been implemented at NUM and CWIU.
2.200 The functionality of the system has since been improved dramatically with all bugs and design flaws removed. The addition of a new end-user reporting toll has made the system considerably more user-friendly.
2.201 SAMWU and TGWU subsequently implemented the system, but only SAMWU, continues to use the system. NUM was unable to sustain the use of the system, CWIU discontinued the system in favour of a more basic and cheaper option, while TGWU withdrew from the system after a computer crash in which much of their data was lost.
2.202 Despite the above, METRIC provided considerable organisational development support to the above unions and to NEHAWU and PPWAWU. This included workshops and training on membership and subscriptions issues, and the development of procedures manuals and support materials, including posters. This function has since been discontinued following a Management Committee decision.
2.203 CITU continued to provide support and advice on membership and subscriptions issues to a number of unions, including to CWIU, FAWU, SACCAWU, POPCRU, SADTU, and TGWU.
2.204 After the failure to adhere to the original vision of the membership and subscriptions system, and with no new affiliates applying to implement the system, the EXCO handed over custody of the system to SAMWU, who will continue to use it and to complete planned developments, including the provision of individual member details. The Secretariat has been mandated to discuss with SAMWU the financial aspect of their takeover of the system.
2.205 The department has continued to provide ongoing technical support and advice on computer hardware, software problems and purchases. This support, which extends to COSATU head office, regions and affiliate head offices, has continued to provide the federation with a vital computer capacity.
2.206 The formal provision of training was discontinued in 1994. Affiliates are expected to acquire training from outside training organisations, using advice and recommendations of CITU. We have recently established a walk-in resource and training centre, through which individual training can be acquired via interactive CD-ROM.
Transformation into a Department
2.207 At the time of the 1994 Congress, the project comprised a staff of 8 persons under a project co-ordinator and were answerable to a Management Committee. The project has now been transformed into a head office department with a staff complement of 4.
National Media Forum
2.208 The forum meets twice a year. These meetings are useful in developing a common approach on media-related matters. One of the major decisions taken was to look at ways of giving solidarity to affiliates who do not have media departments as well as assisting those affiliates whose media officers need guidance. This has led to improvement of communications, with affiliates calling on us for assistance.
2.209 The digest is published once or twice a month, depending on information received. It has not yet reached its full potential due in part to the failure of affiliates and regions to feed us with news. We are looking at a number of options including a hard copy design edition to popularise it. At the moment, we feel that affiliates do not see its value. A review will be made at the end of the year on whether to continue with this publication or not.
2.210 We continue to make progress in ensuring that the views of the federation are heard. This includes assistance to regions; speedy and efficient delivery of pamphlets, posters, stickers; newspaper, TV and radio adverts and articles. We however need to improve on this, particularly in being available to write articles and to conduct interviews.
Them and Us Conference
2.211 This is our attempt to put across our views to the bourgeoisie. However, most companies now include shop stewards as participants. Unfortunately, this has led in certain instances to senior management not attending.
This year’s Conference will focus on:
COSATU home page
2.212 The department is investigating other areas of need for this, e.g. data on affiliates policies, protest action and strikes, existing research, investment companies, etc. Once compiled, this information will be added to the home page. This will further enhance and enrich our home page. There is a need to improve information-sharing within the federation which is currently in a poor shape.
Alliance Media Officers
2.213 In 1996, we had a three-day training programme on the new Constitution, followed by one on understanding the external media, writing press statements and handling radio and TV interviews. This project, which was led by the ANC DIP, is part of a three-year programme on training for Tripartite Alliance media officers at national and provincial level.
2.214 Ten comrades from our regions participated in each province. We also ran a separate training course in the Western Cape for 19 shop stewards from affiliates, who were also trained as anchor persons for community radio.
COSATU Affiliate Media Departments
2.215 Out of COSATU’s 19 affiliates, 14 have media departments and employ media officers. The table below gives a picture of what is happening in each affiliate. Most affiliates use the same propaganda methods that COSATU uses.
Name of Newsletter
Branch & Local level
NEHAWU Worker News
Provincial Offices, Alliance affiliates, sister unions, companies, university students & web site
by the year 2000
post to each company, Shopsteward Committees
In the process of establishing them
to all SACTWU members
Directly to factories
1. The Teacher
2. SADTU News
SAMWU Special News
1. SASBO News
2. Committee News
Directly to members 33 committees throughout the country
2.216 The commercial media continues to be hostile towards COSATU. While we do receive some coverage, this is often distorted. In certain cases we have purposely been ignored. No matter how many press statements we release, if it is not about protest action or criticism of the government, it is said to be not "newsworthy".
2.217 The restructuring of the SABC has not led to an improvement in coverage of or attitude towards COSATU. In some cases we received no coverage at all, even though journalists would have attended our press conference or media briefings. This shows that elements within its management still come from right-wing forces who will do anything to sideline us from the public broadcaster.
2.218 An agreement on a 30-minute programme dedicated to labour issues has not materialised. Instead a programme called Hlabukhangele which focuses on consumer issues was introduced. We were told that labour would be allocated 15 minutes, which has now dwindled to a mere 5 minutes.
2.219 Attempts to have meetings between COSATU and the SABC management have not materialised.
Africa Growth Network
2.220 AGN has arranged live educational programmes that focussed on the discussions around the LRA for the COSATU membership, where workers were given the opportunity to raise questions with the leadership. The programme was effective in ensuring that workers have a better understanding of the LRA.
2.221 The labour slots have been cancelled by the SABC management. The reason given were that radio stations are now autonomous and develop their own programmes. This issue will also have to be raised with the SABC management board.
2.222 Since late 1994, The Shopsteward has been published by the CDC Media Unit following the decision of the National office Bearers to move it from Umanyano. In early 1995, it was felt that The Shopsteward should focus more on national strategic issues facing the federation at a political and socio-economic level, including debates and COSATU policy and decisions on key issues. In turn, affiliates would increase their subscription so that the magazine reaches a wider audience.
2.223 The magazine`s content has been broadly determined by the key issues on the federation’s agenda. The magazine has played a key role in communicating to shop stewards the major COSATU policy decisions, campaigns, negotiations and issues for discussion within the federation. This includes the LRA, negotiations in NEDLAC, the new Constitution, the campaign on the bank rate increase, COSATU`s discussion paper on the restructuring of state assets, The September Commission process, COSATU`s discussion paper on a programme for the Tripartite Alliance, the Basic Conditions of Employment Bill negotiations and campaign and a range of organisational issues.
2.224 In addition, The Shopsteward has run interviews with leaders in government and the ANC, including Jay Naidoo, Cheryl Carolus, Sibusiso Bengu, President Nelson Mandela, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy President Thabo Mbeki and Dr Nkosazana Zuma.
2.225 A major undertaking was the highly successful COSATU Tenth Anniversary edition of The Shopsteward, which came out in time for the federation’s Tenth Anniversary celebrations in December 1995. It had twice the number of pages of the regular editions and covered all major aspects of the federation’s ten year history. To this day, there are still requests for copies of this publication.
2.226 Distribution of The Shopsteward has almost doubled from April 1995 from 13 630 copies to 24 925 in early 1997. While most affiliates increased their distribution in line with their membership numbers, there were notable exceptions. If we estimate that there is one shop steward for every 50 workers, then the number of shop stewards for 1,7 million workers is around 34 000 – which is about 9 075 less than current distribution figures.
2.227 A comparison of figures from early 1995 (Vol 4.2), December 1995 (Vol 4.6) and Feb/March 1997 (Vol 6.1) shows the increase:
|Structure||April 95||Dec 95||Feb 97|
|Total||13 630||19 370||24 925|
Recruitment and employment
2.228 Since the Congress in 1994 to the present, approximately 34 people have resigned, 31 have been recruited, 5 Regional Secretaries have been replaced, 4 people have been dismissed and 2 comrades have passed away. This period has also seen the closure of the COSATU Printing Unit, the merger of Northern Natal and Southern Natal, as well as Border Kei and Eastern Cape regional offices, and the revival of the Regional Educator/Organiser posts.
2.229 Reasons for resignations have varied. Most comrades left because of better prospects – a career move; some have moved for better working conditions and higher salaries; others have resigned to serve the democratic government at national and local level, the Alliance or NGOs.
2.230 A turnover of over 50% of staff since the 1994 elections has enormous implications for any organisation, many of which are not obvious or cannot be supplemented with training. This trend has tapered off in the last six months, making for a more stable environment. Of the 63 positions, only six members of staff have worked for COSATU for longer than 7 years; and 38 staff members have joined since January 1994. COSATU and its affiliates need to seriously consider developing a human resource policy that not only provides incentives for comrades to stay in the trade union movement but also accommodates the lack of experience in dealing with labour issues.
2.231 The recruitment procedures that are in place operate in the absence of a recruitment strategy. We need to ask what kind of people do we want to work in the Federation that will allow us to further our aims and objectives in the most optimal way?
2.232 recruitment and employment is directly related to COSATU`s grading structure. The CEC (1996) reviewed COSATU`s grading structure without taking into account the views of staff, whose main objection was that the present grades are characterised by wide disparities between the highest and lowest paid staff members, by the lack of career pathing opportunities and that benefits advantage the higher-paid workers while disadvantaging those at the bottom. A further objection is that present salaries are not `market-related`.
2.233 This relates to the inflexibility of the COSATU grades. Certain positions that require a high level of skill are fixed at specified grades that are not commensurate with that position. On the other hand there is the dilemma of employing a person who is still in training, but because the position is fixed on that grade, is paid a salary higher than s/he would in the open market.
2.234 COSATU grades needs to be reviewed to be made more flexible and competitive but affordable, fair, based on the skills and competencies of employees and in keeping with the principle of narrowing the wage gap between the highest and lowest paid. This matter, along with the benefit structure, requires updating.
Career paths and appraisals
2.235 There is no structure or plan that allows for an employee to be promoted in the organisation, for example, for an administrator to become an educator or organiser. Employees generally leave the organisation to better themselves, often leaving a serious skill vacuum.
2.236 Ongoing performance appraisals have not been implemented as yet. This has been controversial, since it is seen more as a vehicle to make comrades account and be punished rather than as a developmental tool. However, the consequence is that staff work without any structure to acknowledge their contribution or identify strategies to address weaknesses or areas where further training may be required. This makes career pathing difficult or, when it does happen, haphazard and inconsistent in its application.
2.237 Another gap that requires confronting is the issue of Regional Secretary`s who are elected in accordance with the Constitution. The position is based on political support and less so on an ability to manage staff and finances and coordinate the work of the region efficiently and effectively. Being elected also implies that it would be difficult to appraise a Regional Secretary, as there are no incentives in COSATU for them to improve their skills or performance. Any censure is left to the constitutional structures, which are seldom in touch with the day to day running of the region. A monitoring mechanism needs to be put in place to support Regional Secretaries in their work in the region.
2.238 An employment strategy, in line with the strategic direction agreed on at Congress, should be developed. It should include staff appraisals which fairly gauge and manage performance, set performance objectives and identify weaknesses which need to be acted on. The appraisals should also create mechanisms for comrades to improve themselves within the organisation.
Staff development and training
2.239 There is both an absence of a culture of learning in COSATU as well as an inability to accommodate staff who wish to improve or empower themselves. No financial schemes exist to assist those comrades who choose to go outside COSATU to educate themselves, irrespective of whether their studies are relevant to their jobs or not.
2.240 New staff are left to the supervision of their immediate superior. Monitoring, training and support occurs in an ad hoc way. This means that on-the-job training is unsystematic and, in most cases, does not happen at all. Generally it is up to individuals` drive and initiative.
2.241 Creative avenues should be explored to address employees` need for further development. This could take the form of formal or informal training, mentorship, etc.
2.242 Historically management styles have been democratic, loose, consultative and based on flat hierarchies. We are now moving into a changing environment where we want to retain this management style but also ensure quality performance and delivery as well as proper accountability. This has resulted in some resistance and raises the question of whether an organisation can maintain a flat hierarchy and still have effective lines of authority.
2.243 At present, lines of authority are either not clearly defined or not utilised. This has resulted in the Secretariat not being able to delegate effectively and thereby becoming overloaded and overextended with work and responsibilities. Their central task to provide leadership becomes ineffectual. The implications of this are that the organisation becomes weak internally and externally, due to not being able to address issues meaningfully, not responding timeously, etc. Internally, the lack of leadership could lead to confusion and lack of communication, giving rise to badly organised programmes and campaigns, unclear budgets and, due to weak formulation, uninformed and unfair monitoring results. Given a clear budgeting process, a clear programme within a COSATU vision and flexibility, staff can then do what they are employed to do without unnecessary dependence on the Secretariat for agreement and approval on every step of their work.
2.244 The direct outcome is that the administrative staff can play a solid back-up role because everybody is clear on what is expected of them. Administrative staff are as efficient as allowed for by the organisation`s systems and procedures in place that are implemented and adhered to.
Common labour market
2.245 This concept has been discussed inside and outside of constitutional structures but no concrete strategy or locus of responsibility has been identified.
2.246 It can be argued that once a clearly formulated strategy is in place around streamlining the work and operations of the entire Federation, the core work of winning rights and liberating our working class can be focussed on in a more directed way.
2.247 The lack of training opportunities, the absence of incentives in relation to adequate benefits and market-related salaries, little acknowledgement/recognition from the leadership and few openings to growth in the Federation makes for demoralised and frustrated staff, albeit committed to working and servicing the Federation.
2.248 Without the internal problems in the organisation, the present terrain places the organisation in a complex and difficult position. National, provincial and local government is like a belly which is never full or satisfied and COSATU employees are continually being poached and sought after. Thus the organisation is faced with having to work with new comrades, often unfamiliar with the trade union environment.
2.249 Unless the federation addresses the issues raised above, it will remain administratively weak and its staff will further add to this.
3.1 Most affiliates in the region have a shown a steady growth in membership, as indicated in the table below. However, most affiliates still neglect to organise white collar workers. The exceptions are NUM, NEHAWU and SAMWU.
Constitutional structures and sub-structures
3.2 The region has held two congresses since 1994, both of which reached a quorum in terms of the constitution. The first one dealt with crime, RDP implementation and rationalisation and retrenchments facing workers. The second regional congress focussed on the Regional Secretary’s report and election of Regional Office Bearers (ROBs).
Regional Executive Committee
3.3 Since the last national congress, more than 10 REC meetings were held. All quorated except for one, where many affiliates arrived late. Issues dealt with include the transformation process and CEC andEXCO resolutions. There is mature debate, indicating growth and responsibility from affiliates.
3.4 The region has 10 locals and hopes to launch another four before the end of 1997.
We have the following sub-structures, which are functioning well.
Regional Gender Forum
3.5 The Forum meets monthly and is attended mainly by affiliate administrators.
3.6 The Regional Secretariat meets monthly and is attended by affiliate Secretaries or Coordinators. Its role is to ensure the implementation of regional and national resolutions. Attendance has been relatively good, with constructive participation from affiliates. Issues dealt with include campaigns, building and sustaining locals, and building affiliates where there is potential for growth. Affiliates have been covered in this drive are CAWU, SAAPAWU and SADTU. At present there is a focus on building PPWAWU and SASBO in the region.
3.7 The forum meets on a fortnightly basis and has been the pillar behind the success of the region`s campaigns. Not all organisers attend the meetings, owing to tight affiliate programmes and the vastness of the region. Recently a resolution was passed to hold local meetings on a weekly basis and regional meetings monthly so as to ensure more effective participation of all affiliate functionaries responsible for organising. The structure is quite strong and viable to the extent that an organising blitz in the Potchefstroom area resulted in the closure of a NACTU office due to membership crossing the floor to COSATU affiliates. At present the structure is targeting Bloemhof and surrounding areas such as Schweizer Reineke, Wolmaransstad, Christiana and other remote rural areas.
3.8 Education programmes have been struggling to get off the ground. We have been able to run programmes only for the Vereeniging local, chairpersons of locals and the ROBs. Workshops focussing on the following have also been held:
3.9 After our 1995 regional congress, we emerged with a resolution to combat crime throughout the region. We managed to reduce crime in the Vaal, Klerksdorp and Mafikeng. We need to pay special attention to Holomisa’s attempt to use Sebokeng, Rustenburg and other mines to recruit for his movement. This has resulted in conflicts that allow criminal elements space to operate.
3.10 We have urged all the leadership in the region to lead by example in the Masakhane campaign. Their task was also to ensure that street and block committees were set up in all localities to address the culture of non-payment and service delivery. We also held a two-day Masakhane workshop, linking it to the budget process.
3.11 Since 1996, our May Day celebrations have attracted impressive numbers. An estimated 20 000 people attended our celebrations in 1996 and about 60 000 in 1997. This indicates an immense improvement in the region.
3.12 The actions planned for March lacked strong backing from affiliates as we were not getting reports on mobilisation. However, the June 2 and August 21 actions were well attended and supported by affiliates.
3.13 Most affiliates no longer carry mandates and their membership on most issues taken up by our key structures. This is a major problem.
3.14 Our locals do not have the strength to pull affiliates into attending meetings. This is often due to a lack of resources and remains a demoralising factor for our locals. Affiliates are also reluctant to share resources in most localities and workers are therefore the ones who suffer. We lack the element of reporting back effectively. This causes confusion when we are supposed to emerge with a common understanding of implementing our resolutions.
3.15 Another problem is that our regions are still called by the names used under the old apartheid order.
Socio-economic and political
3.16 Violence in the region has subsided a bit but there is still the question of the future of the compounds and hostel system. This is not being speedily addressed by the government. At the Sebokeng hostels, police are patrolling daily and this has alleviated violence. In mine compounds, we still face the problems of ethnicity, nepotism, regionalism and tribalism.
3.17 The relationship is relatively good, particularly in the North West province. We meet almost once a month and, in most cases, we grapple with issues of common interest such as campaigns, transformation, planning and governance. In the Vaal, the relationship was thriving, but at present we are being left out in the cold on most issues. In the Free State, the last Alliance meeting we attended was in 1995.
Local economic development
3.18 The Vaal economic development forum will be launched soon. In Klerksdorp, our local represents COSATU in the economic forum in the area. We recently established a transformation task team to research and focus on economic development drives in the entire region.
Orange Free State region
3.19 The 1994 regional congress was attended by 14 affiliates with POPCRU as observers. The NUMber of affiliates has since increased addition of POPCRU, SASBO, IPS and SAAPAWU.
3.20 While the region has great potential for growth, there is a threat that we will lose members as a result of the decline in the mining industry, which is the major employer in the region. Evidence of this is the drop in NUM`s membership, while NEHAWU has had significant growth.
3.21 Our regional congresses have been quorating with great difficulty. We have been debating the relevance of clause 9.2.4 of the constitution which stipulates that RCs be held once a year.
Regional Executive Committee
3.22 There has been a great improvement in attendance at RECs. However, there is a need to improve our delegations. For example, if affiliate is entitled to four delegates, the required number should be sent with a fair balance between worker delegates and officials.
3.24 Coordination of locals is the most difficult problem that confronts the region. The Region is grouping locals in a specific radius for purposes of co-ordination, maintenance and development. At present we are running a pilot around the Goldfields.
3.25 We are also discussing the possibility of realigning our locals in line with Alliance structures to facilitate better coordination and communication.
3.26 The regional Fincomm and campaign meetings have been poorly attended. The LRA video launch was attended by 350 delegates out of an expected 1555 shop stewards. The September Commission workshop was attended by only 100 participants, mainly from NEHAWU and SAMWU.
3.27 The Secretariat proved to be a highly useful sub-structure. We focused primarily on political problems which engulfed the Northern Cape and Free State provinces. However, the structure failed to reflect on building organisation and a Strategic Committee was therefore set up to assist in building organisation.
3.28 This engine of the organisation still needs fuel injection to function effectively. Organisers in the Free State and Northern Cape developed good programmes but failed to implement them. A positive factor arising from this structure has been the establishment of the Alliance Organisers Forum. This forum, if properly utilised, can be instrumental in the revival and strengthening of Alliance structures.
3.29 The Regional Gender Forum is gradually maturing. It has dealt with policy matters, including socio-economic and political issues. However, we have not effectively achieved its objective of developing women leadership. There is only one woman in the regional leadership of COSATU and very few women in regional affiliate leadership.
Regional programme and campaigns
3.30 Our programme focuses on the following:
The region has participated in the following campaigns:
3.31 We participated in the Anti-crime Summit in the Northern Cape but have failed to make follow-ups on the resolutions taken.
Child Care Day
3.32 We embarked on marches to police stations in Kimberley and handed over memorandums demanding the following:
3.33 Except for this year, our previous May Day rallies have been well attended. However, concern was raised that locals are supposed to discuss mobilisation of workers for May Day rallies without resources. Another problem has been a lack of coordination between locals and affiliates in preparing for May Day activities.
Socio-economic and political report
The Tripartite Alliance
3.34 The Alliance has been mainly crisis-oriented due to the lack of a coherent programme of action in the region. We have agreed to hold the following meetings: fortnightly Alliance Secretariat, Joint Office Bearers, Joint Organisers Forum and a summit to strengthen the Alliance. The Alliance will also work on a deployment strategy as a form of strengthening governance and will meet with the Provincial Executive Council on a fortnightly basis. At present we attend the ANC provincial parliamentary caucus.
3.35 The ANC emerged victorious in the local government elections, as expected. However, this victory has created its own problems. There is a lack of discipline amongst our councillors and fighting for positions tends to dominate their programmes.
3.36 The ANC does not have a comprehensive programme to radically transform the functions of local government structures and ensure that councillors deliver on the movement`s elections mandate. There are emerging tensions between ANC councillors and SAMWU as they are labeled reactionary and anti-ANC when they articulate positions in defense of their members. An Alliance two-a-side task team has been established to address these problems.
3.37 There are no economic development institutions in the region. However COSATU is participating in the Tender Board. The Northern Cape and Free State provinces are rich in mineral wealth but these provinces benefit very little from this. The regional economy is threatened by a lack of economic development, the decline in the mining industry and a lack of diversification of the economy. The unreliability of the agricultural sector also poses problems for the region.
Northern Transvaal region
Attendance at regional activities and meetings
3.38 Many affiliates fail to attend and participate in activities such as campaigns, Regional Executive Committee meetings, regional congresses and shop stewards councils. This is due to various factors, primarily a lack of commitment from union leadership.
Building weaker affiliates
3.39 Affiliate autonomy has limited the federation`s capacity to intervene and endeavour to resolve disputes between affiliates, to assist weaker affiliates and those experiencing serious problems.
3.40 Affiliates have made little progress in developing women leadership and decisions taken at COSATU gender meetings can not be implemented for a number of reasons:
3.41 There is a lack of or poor service to membership in the region due to factors such as:
Keeping and updating membership records
3.42 The region has been unable to record the growth and decline of membership within affiliates because:
Attendance at RCs and RECs by COSATU locals
Regional Office Bearers tasks and duties
3.44 The elected worker regional office bearers are unable to:
KwaZulu Natal region
3.45 KwaZulu Natal Province has been under attack from third force elements for a long time and many workers have lost their lives and loved ones since 1980’s. This violence has affected COSATU structures in a number of ways because shop stewards have found it difficult to attend meetings in the evenings. In some cases people have been scared to be linked to COSATU. Nevertheless, the membership of COSATU affiliates in the region has increased from 250 000 since our last Congress to 280 000 this year.
3.46 All our Regional Congresses held during this period met the constitutional requirement for a quorum. However, affiliates still fail to bring the required number of delegates. The exception is SACTWU, which sometimes brings extra delegates. Serious problems experienced over the years include:
Regional Executive Committee
3.47 Our REC meetings have been quorating for a long time and the REC generally functions well. However, the region still experiences problems with late coming and affiliate failure to co-ordinate their delegates and prepare for meetings. Affiliate delegates often attend without proper mandates and this means that decisions are often not implemented. Participation tends to be dominated by full-time secretaries with poor participation from worker delegates.
3.48 Locals that are up and running in KwaZulu Natal are as follows:
3.49 Secretariat meetings have taken place after the RECs or Regional Congresses to look at how to implement decisions taken by the constitutional structures. It has been an engine of the entire province, although some Secretaries, from SASBO, NUM, NEHAWU and TGWU, have failed to attend meetings consistently.
3.50 CWU, TGWU, NUMSA, NEHAWU, PPWAWU, SACCAWU, SADTU, SAMWU and POPCRU have been consistent in attending regional gender meetings and workshops.
3.51 Affiliate Regional and Branch gender structures exist but are not functioning. Most of affiliates were allocated the task of the co-ordination in regions and branches. Affiliates do not have a programme for gender structures. Where they do have one, this is in name only, and is not implemented.
3.52 Another problem is that affiliates at regional and branch level struggle to obtain funds from their head offices to conduct workshops or meetings.
3.53 The programme of action around 1 June 1997 ran from 26-30 May and pickets and demonstrations were held at workplaces. This culminated in a successful celebration at Albert Park.
3.54 We are proposing that August 9 events are held outside Durban. Our aim is to target rural areas and we have a five-year plan for this. In this way we are also trying to mobilise rural people for the 1999 elections.
3.55 The region discussed the issue of women leadership in COSATU structures and felt that COSATU has not taken this matter seriously because, at regional and local level, there is no women leadership.
3.56 Our region has had May Day rallies ranging from centralised rallies to decentralised rallies. Only the 1995 May Day rally was well attended and this was because president Nelson Mandela was the main speaker.
3.57 In 1996, the May Day rallies were decentralised and attendance was disastrous. In 1997 a May Day rally was held at Curries Fountain, with a lot of musical groups performing. Approximately 10 000 workers attended this rally. We need to consider taking our rallies to areas outside Durban, because workers in outlying areas are more interested in union rallies than people in Metro areas. However, the question of transport remains a stumbling block.
3.58 COSATU has taken up the anti-crime campaign in the region but participation from the community has been poor. The region has seen a number of marches organised by different groupings. COSATU held meetings with employers and confronted them on the question of political violence while they were more concerned about the high crime rate in the CBD areas. Employers have been criticising the government for the high crime rate and a failure to deliver. COSATU requested that they contribute and assist the government if it does not have resources. Employers have now donated 12 cars to the police to deal with car hijackings. The community is excited about the role we have played so far as a federation.
3.59 While affiliates have unreservedly supported COSATU in the Employment Standards campaign, the level of mobilisation by affiliates has been poor. Affiliates committed themselves to take action on 10 April but only NUMSA, SACTWU, SACCAWU, CWIU, PPWAWU and FAWU took action. Only TGWU and SACTWU had marches. This indicates that national decisions are not filtering down to affiliates` local structures.
3.60 This campaign has been taken up by COSATU and councillors in the region and a number of rallies and workshops have been held in various townships. The community’s response has been very positive although people wanted the councillors to improve on the delivery of goods to the community.
Political and socio-economic report
The Tripartite Alliance
3.61 The Alliance is alive in KwaZulu Natal, particularly at the provincial level. However, local structures meet infrequently. The Alliance worked together during the local government elections and this led to the ANC winning in all the central business district areas, except in 8 regions which were won by the IFP. This victory can be attributed to COSATU, which was vocal in encouraging its membership to vote for the ANC. We have difficulties in the rural areas because, despite being in the minority, the IFP’s traditional structures are reluctant to recognise the ANC councillors and see them as a threat.
3.62 The ANC is attempting to negotiate a permanent peace package with the IFP. The media is no longer interested in covering the ongoing political killings in KwaZulu Natal, particularly those who are ANC supporters.
3.63 The importance of the Alliance cannot be overemphasised in KwaZulu Natal because the Alliance needs a clear programme of action to accomplish our task of liberating our members from the IFP siege.
Local government elections
3.64 After the general elections, provinces were expected to run local government elections. KwaZulu Natal asked for an extension because of the high level of violence at the time and the level of fraud. As such, the elections were held in the middle of last year. The ANC scored a convincing victory in the urban areas and elected ANC mayors. In almost all the areas, shop stewards were elected as councillors by wards or on the PR list. COSATU is starting to benefit from this strategy because from time to time these mayors and councillors brief our local structures about development at the local government level. However, these councillors need proper training because officials tend to set the agenda and dictate to them what to do.
3.65 The National Peace Accord was disbanded in 1994. However, due to the fact that political violence was still rife in KwaZulu Natal, a provincial structure was maintained. This structure was inaugurated in October 1996 after being endorsed by parliament. This structure has a provincial office and local offices. Its objectives include peace keeping, peace building and monitoring. Its secondary task is the repatriation of people displaced by violence. Currently the structure is facing problems such as maladministration. Our role as COSATU in the province is to attempt to restructure this institution to deal more with repatriation since its work in peace building is invisible and lacks proper direction.
3.66 COSATU has participated in discussions around a number of institutions such as the University of Natal, Mangosuthu Technikon, ML Sultan, Technikon Natal and Natal Training Centre. This has centred on labour`s participation in restructuring of these institutions. In some cases, we are making impact but in others we lack capacity.
Regional Economic Forum
3.67 After the 1994 general elections, the government, employers and labour came together and agreed to set up the Regional Economic Forum (REF), funded by the KwaZulu Natal government. Its purpose is to deal with economic issues. Recently, the REF came up with a document called Growth and Development Strategy (GDS) aimed at directing provincial government spending. Next years` provincial budget will be informed by this document. The next step is to set up regional councils as per the demarcation of KwaZulu Natal. COSATU locals are already participating in these structures.
3.68 Tasks being undertaken by the REF range from the relocation of the Durban Airport to La Mercy Airport, Port Development and its expansion, Spatial Development Initiatives in the North, Durban and Pietermaritzburg Corridor, Crime Prevention, Masakhane Campaign and Industrial Restructuring research. The University of Natal has carried out research looking at Textile and Clothing, Paper and Printing and Auto Industries, since these are the ones which are being affected by GATT and tariffs.
3.69 All the unions, including independent unions and the major federations have been sitting together in the REF Labour Caucus and COSATU has been very active in leading these developments.
KwaZulu Natal industrial restructuring project
3.70 This project was establish by the REF to look at industrial restructuring in Textile and Clothing, Paper and Printing and Auto sectors. They have visited a lot of factories and found that employers are not investing in training. However, labour lacks the capacity to take the process forward. While labour is failing to come to grips with the industrial restructuring process, employers are busy restructuring without labour input. A manufacturing advisory centre has been established, funded by a Danish institution, to look at how to assist companies in productivity issues.
Spatial development initiative
3.71 The KwaZulu Natal government, the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Transport and the Metro are busy discussing a number of developments, including the introduction of Industrial Development Zones (IDZ) in areas like Richards Bay, Bay Head and Pietermaritzburg, in order to create jobs. Labour has raised the question of worker rights and the LRA and the feeling from the stakeholders is that the IDZsare different from EPZs. The question of incentives in this area has been established by all the stakeholders. Labour is also participating in the KwaZulu Marketing Initiative to market the province, as we desperately need more jobs.
Eastern Cape region
3.72 All the Congresses held during the period met the quorum requirements. However, attendance is still a problem. Some affiliates fail to bring even half their allocated delegates. This results in a sizeable chunk of our membership being left out. Late coming is another problem as this limits the time spent productively in the congress. Distances may be a contributing factor but the main problem is a lack of discipline.
3.73 Lack of capacity and the absence of a programme to build it contributes to poor participation. Debates are often dominated by a few comrades from a few affiliates. This has potential dangers as it could translate into cliques. A lack of policies in a number of areas contributes to our weakness.
3.74 On the positive side, the fact that we have been able to quorate means we have been able to deliberate on issues timeously and develop positions. It also means we have been able to articulate mandated positions. There has been increased co-operation between affiliates and this has led to increased co-ordination and greater unity. Finally, we draw our strength from the militancy of our membership and their willingness to support our campaigns whenever there is a call.
3.75 Issues discussed at our congresses range from organisational to socio-economic and political issues. These have reflected the mood of our membership as well as the challenges facing the federation. Resolutions to this effect have pointed to positions and the direction we should adopt. Some of the issues debated were:
Regional Executive Committee
3.76 RECs have been marred with problems of reaching a quorum, late coming and poor attendance and participation. However, in the main, our RECs have functioned fairly well. This is corroborated by the key strategic role have played in giving direction to the federation. Progress has also been made in implementing decisions. However, poor affiliate preparation lessens the quality of debate and the subsequent resolutions.
3.77 A lack of policy on certain issues affects our ability to influence provincial developments. A failure by some affiliates` senior leadership to participate in RECs is still a problem.
3.78 Our region has about 20 locals, these include:
3.79 Our gender structures are fairly strong. They have co-ordinated and carried out our campaigns related to women. A weakness is their relationship with similar Alliance structures, particularly the ANCWL. However, these problems are not peculiar to the province. The region has tried to intervene where possible.
3.80 The main focus has been on women and child abuse and, together with the Alliance, CBOs and NGOs, they coordinated activities for 1 June 1997. There is room for improvement at the affiliate level, where gender structures either do not exist or are not functioning.
3.81 The region has struggled to get the Campaigns Committee up and running. At most it has been run on an ad-hoc and issue-based basis. Affiliates do not have campaigns structures and this contributes to the poor participation at a federation level. This may perhaps begin to explain our poor showing at coordinating effective solidarity among affiliates. However, the region has embarked on renewed attempts to revive this structure.
3.82 This is one of our most effective structures. It is constituted by the chair and secretary of each affiliate. Secretariat meetings take place regularly, in between the RECs. Because of this, we are able to deal with urgent issues in a much more representative way. However, attendance at this structure is problematic, as not all affiliates send delegates and, when they do, delegations are not full and always dominated by officials.
International Women’s Day
3.83 We have encountered problems when it comes to this campaign. This could be linked to the fact that it takes place early in the year. We tend to start preparations late and do not give ourselves enough time to mobilise. Co-ordination and co-operation with Alliance partners is also problematic.
3.84 We have been unable to attract as many of our members to May Day rallies as we did in the past. The reasons for this are unclear, but we cannot run away from the fact that it has to do with our general mobilisation and organising strategies for these rallies. However, attempts to decentralise the rallies have paid dividends.
3.85 For instance, this year we attracted more workers to rallies than in the past. Perhaps this needs to be strengthened.
3.86 The anti-crime campaign was launched on 26 March 1997 in East London. The launch was very successful with close to 10 000 people participating. What remains problematic is that this was the first and last time we ever heard of the campaign. Virtually nothing has been done since then. Even the MEC for Safety and Security has not forwarded any response.
Employment Standards Bill
3.87 While affiliates put less effort into the June 2 strike, the Regional one was very successful with more than 95% taking part.
Political and socio-economic report
3.88 The relationship at the provincial level is very good. This is evidenced by the unity that the Alliance has pulled together, even at the most difficult times. There is great improvement in coherence and cohesiveness. This has enabled us to be on top of the current political situation in our province. However, not all is glossy, as the picture changes at other levels. For example, a number of problems are encountered at the local level where the Alliance partners are fighting each other.
3.89 Unfortunately we have been unable to escape these controversies. One of our major problems has been the fight between SANCO and the ANC. This has been aggravated by the fact that there is confusion at local level regarding the status of SANCO.
3.90 Currently the Alliance is engaged in a variety of activities aimed at building the organisation and enhancing our capacity to deliver to people through the provincial government. On the one hand, preparations are at an advanced stage to launch the Provincial Growth and Development Strategy, which is a product of all stakeholders in the province. On the other hand, through the Bosberaad, we have come up with resolutions that deal with the critical steps the new premier has to take in his first 100 days, the realignment and restructuring of government offices and institutions to suit our strategic objectives and the restructuring of the office of the Premier itself. Task teams have been set up to look at this, as well as the areas of governance and legislature and the building of organisation. These task teams are representative of the Alliance and COSATU is playing a leading role in the area of governance, including in high-level Alliance task teams aimed at improving the performance of our provincial government.
3.91 COSATU has established a healthy working relationship with the Eastern Cape NGO Coalition (ECNGOC). We have co-operated a number of projects like the Presidential Project Team working in the Transkei to unblock the blockages and fast-track RDP delivery. We have successfully intervened in this project through a joint study/survey conducted by NIEP and funded by the coalition.
3.92 We have also held bilaterals with the SACP aimed at closer and tighter co-ordination of our programmes. This is an ongoing programme that we hope will filter down to the local levels.
3.93 The regional membership, according to the figures, has increased by about 4%. This is attributed to membership increases in the majority of affiliates, NUM, PPWAWU, SAAPAWU, SACTWU, TGWU and SADTU.
3.94 All Regional Congresses held during this period met the quorum requirements. However, shortcomings included late coming by delegates and affiliates not bringing full delegations. Debates tended to be dominated by a few affiliates and many affiliates did not prepare timeously for the congresses.
3.95 On the positive side, the Congresses were able to discuss and take resolutions on a range of key issues, including:
Regional Executive Committee
3.96 The REC is functioning quite well and has played the role of the nucleus of the region. It has been instrumental in ensuring the implementation of decisions.
3.97 At the same time, we need to develop the capacity of the regional leadership to enable the Federation to deal with unfolding socio-economic and political challenges. Key aspects of the regional programme have been launching and revitalising locals, COSATU campaigns, the LRA and building the Alliance. These programmes have been used as a strategy to build, strengthen and sustain local organisations.
3.98 For purposes of continuity and consistency, the REC has decided that affiliate delegates must be permanent.
3.99 Key REC strengths have been:
3.100 Weakness include:
3.101 The ROB, ROF,REC and Educator/Organiser have been central to the programme of reviving, sustaining, building and launching of locals in the region. At the end of the launching programme, the region will have a total of 18 locals. At this stage about 11 local are semi- to fully-functional, and about 7 need to be launched.Functional locals: Standerton, Secunda, Middelburg, Nelspruit, Bushbuckridge, Leslie, Burgersfort, Delmas, Barberton, Witbank and Lydenburg.
3.103 Locals still to launched: Piet Retief, Ermelo, Ogies, Volksrust, Komatipoort, Belfast, Amersfort.
3.104 Each local will be co-ordinated by an organiser appointed at a Regional Organisers Forum. Congress should stress the fact that when an organiser is co-ordinating COSATU issues, he or she is not outside official time.
3.105 The locals which have been visited and launched are functioning reasonably well. Most have programmes of dates.
3.106 Some affiliates don`t attend meetings, despite repeated pleas by LOBs. Example of this are:
3.107 Attempts are been made to take up the issue of affiliates` non-attendance at the COSATU local meetings. The Regional Organisers Forum and Secretariat Forum are being used to assess the improvement of affiliates attendance at local meetings.
3.108 Affiliates have committed themselves to putting COSATU as a standard agenda item in all their meetings.
3.109 The attendance at the gender forum fluctuates. However the Forum is able to discuss and implement decisions.
3.110 The absence of gender structures in most affiliates contributes to this problem. The absence of educational programmes by affiliates targeted at development of women is also a problem. This can be seen in the absence of women in affiliates` regional/provincial leadership.
3.111 The structure in the region has been focusing mainly on women development and women issues, campaigns and children`s issues.
3.112 We still need to develop a structured, coherent and lively relationship with other women`s and gender structures in the region. At present our relationship with the ANCWL has been on an ad hoc basis.
3.113 The structure is being revitalised, but campaigns have been driven by the Organisers Forums.
3.114 The June 1997 REC deliberated at length on resuscitating this structure. It was agreed to restructure the committee to be a small, manageable, yet representative structure to enable it to deal with campaigns.
3.115 It was also noted that solidarity between affiliates is either weak or non-existent. The Campaigns Committee will co-ordinate solidarity in the region.
3.116 The Regional Organisers Forum consists of 43 organisers in the region. The region has three major towns:
3.117 We have developed a programme and a mechanism to hold regular organisers forums in these centres, where most affiliate offices are concentrated.
3.118 Attendance at the ROF has been impressive, ranging from 80% to 95%. It is one of the region`s most central and dynamic structures and works like a well-oiled machine. The Organisers Forum can take much of the credit for the success of our campaigns in the region.
3.119 The Regional Congress has mandated the ROF to draw up a recruitment and organising marshal plan for the region. Affiliates have been asked to set realisable recruitment targets.
3.120 This plan is co-ordinated by a committee of three organisers, together with a chairperson`s forum constituted by affiliate chairpersons and the COSATU regional chairperson.
3.121 The ROF and Secretariat Forum regularly review affiliates` servicing of membership. The impression is that affiliates strength and weaknesses differ from one area to the other.
3.122 Secretaries have been meeting irregularly. At one point the structure collapsed due to non-attendance of affiliates` secretaries.
3.123 The REC viewed this in a serious light and further initiatives will be taken to pull together Secretaries in order to drive implementation of decisions and give direction in the region in between the RECs.
3.124 Since the end of July the forum has been meeting consistently. Affiliates that not attending are CAWU, SARHWU, SACTWU and TGWU.
International Women`s Day (8 March)
3.125 Our involvement in this campaign was very minimal and our structures did not mobilise effectively for activities. A minority of affiliates and individuals join hands with the ANCWL in celebration of this day.
National Women`s Day (9 August)
3.126 In 1995, we joined the ANCWL in celebrating this day in Nelspruit.
COSATU Child Care Day (1 June)
3.127 In 1995 and 1997, the events were celebrated jointly with the ANCWL and were very successful. Events were held at Secunda local and attended by other nearby locals.
3.128 The 1995 and 1996 rallies were poorly attended due to a lack of mobilisation or general demoralisation of our membership. This improved in 1997. However, the majority of affiliates do not plan or put resources aside to fund these activities. NEHAWU deserves credit for mobilising and funding their members` transport in all our campaigns.
3.129 The REC resolved to engage the Alliance in launching the anti-crime campaign in the region. We participated in the Safety and Security directed Provincial Crime Prevention Strategy Summit. Our locals have been drected to play a central role in anti-crime initiatives. We are currently developing a profile of have how many CPFs we participate in, the number of comrades who have joined the reservist pool etc.
3.130 At the beginning of the campaign, affiliates` response was lukewarm and they failed to participate in demonstrations and other activities scheduled from 23 February-20 March.
3.131 Subsequent to that, there was a huge interest and mobilisation that resulted in successful marches, including the general strikes of 2 June and the regional one which were a success. The launching of locals programme and centre organisers forum has paid dividends in this regard.
3.132 The region`s response to this campaign has been weak. With the advent of the Campaigns Committee, it is hoped that this, like other campaigns will gain more impetus.
Socio-economic and political
3.133 The relationship exists at provincial level on an ad hoc and issue-based basis and characterised by crisis response management.
3.134 Alliance partners, especially the ANC, have not consulted each other an strategic questions and fundamental policy issues such as the Bushbuckridge border dispute, the reshuffling of the cabinet and privatisation of essential services in Nelspruit. To improve this situation, the Alliance Secretariat has agreed to build a structured relationship which will begin to see the Alliance moving in a coherent, healthy and dynamic way.
3.135 The first step in this direction was to convene regular Alliance Secretariat and Political Committee meetings that will culminate in a provincial Alliance Summit to look at areas of governance and the provincial legislature, as well as anchoring the Alliance at local level, and planning and strategising for the 1999 elections.
3.136 We have held regular bilaterals with the SACP for the purpose of closer co-operation and co-ordination of our programmes.
3.137 PDCC: The region is a participant in the provincial Development Consultative Council (PDCC – formerly known as the Regional Economic Development Forum). It is a tripartite body, with representation from labour, business, government and CBO / NGOs. Its main function is to prioritise developmental projects and advise the provincial government on these. However, the government has refused to continue to fund the PDCC`s activities, and its status now hangs in the balance.
3.138 Mpumalanga Tender Board: COSATU is represented on this board. Its primary function being to facilitate tenders in the province.
Western Cape region
3.139 Membership figures for the region have fluctuated dramatically.
3.140 The shift in membership is a reflection of the general move within many industries from manufacturing to service industries. The variations in membership figures do not indicate a move from manufacturing to service industries, as we have seen in many others countries where there has been a decline in manufacturing. The clothing industry has been affected by big cuts in employment figures. However, other figures in manufacturing show growth or at the least stability. The service industry has shown some growth in certain areas, most noticeably tourism-related industries.
3.141 The last Regional Congress was on 2 November 1996. Current were elected at this congress and a number of resolutions were adopted. An account of progress in implementing these resolutions is provided below.
Regional Executive Committee
3.142 The Regional Executive Committee has dealt with overseeing the activities of COSATU in the region. This includes ensuring the implementation of resolutions adopted at the Regional Congress on 2 November 1996. The REC has also focused on formulating responses to a number of areas affecting COSATU. Affiliate attendance has been very good, with leadership figures generally present. The Office Bearers Report to the REC has highlighted the key areas to be focused on and also updates affiliates on ROBs` activities in between RECs.
Regional Shop stewards Council
3.143 The RSSCs have mainly been used as a springboard for COSATU national campaigns and focus on implementation of campaigns in the province. Another key area of focus is to build the confidence of workers in cross-affiliate solidarity. This has been especially useful given the success recent campaigns in the province. It has also proven to be an effective forum for propaganda against the National Party, particularly in the campaign against Neil Barnard`s employment as the Director General for the Province despite his record in NIS. The attendance as been very good and we see this as an indication of affiliate support for the various campaigns.
3.144 The setting up of industrial, rural and residential locals have been mainly demand driven. The Education Officer is presently engaged in a process where organisers are allocated to different industrial locals.
3.145 The Regional Secretaries of all of the affiliates meet as agreed for breakfast sessions to share ideas and views regarding the future of COSATU in the region. The meeting is designed to oversee the implementation of the various activities in the region, and sensitise COSATU to developments in the various affiliates. It also puts affiliates in a position to oversee and check whether COSATU is fulfilling its mandate.
3.146 These meetings have been extremely effective and could play more of a developmental role if all Secretaries attend. The cost factor may be a deterrent. Particular areas to focus on is the absence of CWIU and PPWAWU.
3.147 The Regional Organisers Forum plays a fundamental role in implementing the mandate. These have been well attended but could do with more commitment from affiliates.
3.148 The Organisers Forum has been charged with coordinating the setting up of the various Industrial and Residential Locals. A detailed program in this regard is being followed up by the REC.
3.149 The forum is functioning and with the intervention of the ROBs, the petty politics is being addressed. After a bit of a slump, the ROBs have taken control and have driven the revival of the structure.
Campaigns and other activities
3.150 In 1997, a highly successful May Day rally was held at Maynardville, Cape Town. The attendance figures were between 4000 and 5000. Comments from people attending was generally favorable and a detailed assessment was held at the REC. It was agreed that the format for future May Day events would be the same as this provided an opportunity for workers and their families to celebrate together. Further rallies were held in Atlantis, Paarl and George. The format was the same as the Central event with few speeches, many bands and cultural activities in a relaxed picnic atmosphere.
3.151 The action taken in Cape Town was extremely successful, with 30 000 people participating in the June 2 marches. This was followed by the regional action where more than 50% of workers participated in the strike.
3.152 This remains a sore point. The issue that requires urgent attention is the one relating to I&J, where there is a dispute between FAWU and SACCAWU. There is also one between NUM and CAWU. We have instituted shorter measures to address the conflict and possible violence, but a long-term political solution is required by Congress.
3.153 This campaign has not moved very far since the launch. It needs to be followed up. One possibility may be for COSATU to convene a conference of all anti-crime groupings, including the SAPS.
3.154 A meeting was convened of all groupings involved in anti-crime Many useful areas emerged as to a future direction for COSATU.
3.155 A campaign was run against the appointment by Kriel of Barnard as director general despite his NIS record and we are now awaiting further developments from NEHAWU. The latest position is that the Truth and reconciliation Commission has summoned him to provide them with names of apartheid era spies.
3.156 The ROBs are particularly optimistic in this area. We believe that the fact that COSATU has made progress in all areas identified by Congress is an indication of its development. Workers however grow confident through successes. The level at which shop stewards best experience that is at RSSC, so there is a need to fix that area. It is not enough to be battle ready - you have to keep the troops morale up. We have to ensure that COSATU remains on the centre stage of developments in the Western Cape.
Political and socio-economic
3.157 The Alliance is functioning with the main area being the Alliance Secretariat meeting. A joint Alliance Executive was held on 13 May 1997. A number of areas were dealt with that were referred to the Secretariat to follow up. The big issue was when the Alliance partners were asked to indicate their positions on the Employment Standards. The SACP indicated their support for the COSATU position. The ANC said that Tito had briefed the NEC and the ANC supported the Bill. They did not point out that discussion on the provisions would not be stifled in ANC branches and regions.
3.158 We are developing a structured relationship, but it is not yet very focussed or programmatic. We need to drive issues here, e.g. the relationship with councillors and SAMWU. The next Alliance joint executive will be held on 12 August 1997.
3.159 The first workshop was held from 18-20 April 1997. It was successful in that it identified areas that should be followed up in more detail. The agenda defined here has been taken forward in various ways.
Conference on racism
3.160 We propose a congress size delegation and a date at the end of June (REC to set date). All unions are to consider bringing white members to bolster non racism. The programme can be planned with the REF once broad principles are established. The present division in the Nats can be exploited e.g. the control of the Western Cape Nats is effectively white. This Congress has not been convened due to not having a clearly defined approach, we need to follow up on this discussion.
Provincial Development Council and WESGRO
3.161 The above structures focuses on coordinating provincial development and investment promotion strategies. The functioning of this structure is similar to NEDLAC in many respects although it has specialist committees which fulfill the functions of the NEDLAC Chambers. We have embarked on a program to boost our participation and capacity within these structures. One proposal is to have a process in the province similar to the NEDLAC negotiations school. The intention is to both build capacity and develop policy for our involvement in the PDC. If endorsed, a programme and budget should be developed.
3.162 After the 1994 congress, the region’s membership stood at 361 395. Since then, membership in the region has grown tremendously, even though this did not meet expectations. By April 1997, membership stood at 463 178.
3.163 The region has not strategically concentrated all its efforts into ensuring that we consciously embark on a recruitment drive as a collective. Attempts made to instill a sense of a collective approach in recruiting new members, particularly to those affiliate which lack sufficient resources. However, this was to no avail.
3.164 We are in the process of identifying unaffiliated unions and the unorganised in our region so that we are able to put our efforts where they are needed. We hope this will yield positive results.
3.165 Since the changes in the frequency of our regional congresses were effected, we have been able to ensure at least some strategic implementation of both our national and regional programmes.
3.166 Because of the rapid turnover of Regional Secretaries and staff generally, it has become impossible to keep track of our day-to-day activities and monitoring of policy implementation by either the congress or the REC.
3.167 We have experienced a decline in co-ordination and the level of debate at our congresses. This is mainly because affiliates seem not to be playing their part. As a result, last year’s Regional Congress was a dismal failure in that there was no quorum.
Regional Executive Committee
3.168 The main problem is a lack of attendance at REC meetings by affiliates` key leadership. This renders the REC unworkable in that its decisions will not necessarily filter down to affiliates and lower structures.
3.169 There are also problems in implementing key REC decisions. This is because the lack of collective leadership impacts negatively on our ability to engage effectively in a number of provincial forums in which we are supposed to participate.
3.170 While we also experience problems in getting a quorum at some REC meetings, the general picture is positive in that we have been able to pull off a number of successful campaigns and events.
3.171 Our February 1997 REC, in discussing and taking stock of our locals’ strengths and weaknesses, agreed that all locals should be industrially based, except where industrial areas might not be viable for the local meetings, such as in Heidelburg and Nigel.
3.172 We also agreed that, given the lack of attendance at the locals, all affiliates should at least elect 10 shop stewards to be their representatives in COSATU locals, notwithstanding the fact that all shop stewards should be attending these meetings.
3.173 The following locals exist in our region:
3.174 The region has established four sub-committees that are supposed to deal with issues such as Gender, education, Campaigns and Socio-economic and development. The Coordinator of these sub-committees are the three COSATU full-time staff, with the Administrator handling the Gender sub-committee. The Educator/Organiser deals with the Educators Forum and the Campaigns Committee and the Regional Secretary coordinates the socio-economic and development sub-committee. All affiliates are expected to send at least two delegates to each of these sub-committees.
3.175 There has since been restructuring in the Socio-economic and development sub-committee in that affiliates were requested to send as many comrades as they wished to ensure greater participation in this committee. The intention was to establish a taskforce on this issue, both in relation to the ANC policy units on specialised areas and generally in relation to the Gauteng legislature. It was seen as important that COSATU develop its participation in these processes in a more strategic and well coordinated manner, particularly in the light of the establishment of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). Capacity building is a crucial issue in this regard.
3.176 Affiliate participation in other sub committees is weak. Affiliates do not see the need to attend these meetings and as such, issues such as solidarity and information exchange in strengthening particularly the weaker affiliates, is not reliable.
3.177 Both the Organisers Forum and the Secretariat are in existence. The latter is for discussing political and organisational issues.
3.178 There have been a number of discussions in our regions and at Alliance level around the way COSATU and some of its affiliates are demarcated. It is important to point out that there are pros and cons in whatever policy decision is taken on this issue. We think it would be important for the federation at a national political level to assist in pointing the way forward on this matter.
3.179 We specifically refer to the Wits region, Northern Province and North West Province. Without a clear definition of our provinces and regions, there is potential in the long run for COSATU to be undermined by ANC provincial structures. Already there are signs to this effect, certainly in our region, because we are viewed as a region and not a province by certain ANC regions.
COSATU`s Engagement with the Political Process
4.1 It took the Federation some time to recognise that the introduction of a people`s parliament and government required new organisational capacity to effectively advance our interests. It soon became apparent, after the 1994 elections, that we needed to be able to engage directly with the structures of government, parliament and the constitutional assembly if we are to influence the transformation process.
4.2 From 1994-1995, our responses to government processes were largely based on crisis management. We reacted to the most urgent requests for COSATU input on an ad hoc basis. By the end of 1994, the COSATU Executive recognised the need to set up a dedicated parliamentary office in Cape Town. This would enhance our ability to develop a proactive, ongoing capacity to deal with the challenges arising in parliament, and governance more generally.
4.3 In October 1995 we established a Parliamentary Office to meet these objectives. The eighteen intervening months since the national elections had seen the entrenchment of a number of worrying developments in government. Especially damaging was the fact that a particular culture was taking hold in relation to the policy process within ministries. This technocrat-driven process meant that a number of policies had been determined without our input. In addition to having to attempt to reverse some of this, we confronted the entrenched presence numerous of business operations, both around parliament and in the Ministries.
4.4 Despite these problems, we were able to combine a strategy of organisational mobilisation with direct engagement in processes of government. By 1996 this approach bore fruit, as we began to make a significant impact on constitutional, policy and legislative questions.
The Constitutional Process
4.5 From the end of 1995 until May 1996, intensive negotiations took place in the Constitutional Assembly aimed at finalising the new Constitution within the deadlines and principles set out in the Interim Constitution. COSATU had tabled our points on major issues in public hearings in mid-1995. We now had to monitor and engage with proposals as they emerged from the negotiations process. Initially, we were forced to engage with the product as it emerged. This led to various difficulties, as we felt our concerns were being lost in the negotiations process. This was rectified to a large extent by the holding of bilaterals with the ANC leadership, and our inclusion in the ANC`s Constitutional Committee, which planned strategy on a daily basis. This had to be complemented by a number of top-level Alliance meetings to address problems as the negotiations developed, particularly with the deadlock around the lock-out clause. We further had bilaterals with the NP to press home our determination to achieve COSATU`s demands, as well as a meeting between the Alliance on one side and business on the other. This process of engagement, combined with our programme of mass mobilisation, was decisive in ensuring major breakthroughs in securing COSATU`s positions on a number of issues, and reinforcing ANC positions on a number of others.
4.6 COSATU focussed on 15 main areas in our engagement with the constitutional process, ranging from labour relations, to socio-economic clauses of the Constitution. At the end of the day, we managed to achieve our positions on nearly all issues. In some instances, the ANC had advanced the same positions as ourselves (e.g. the lock-out). On others, specific clauses were inserted at our request (e.g. closed shops, pickets, procurement policy, public enterprises). There were, however, some issues on which we failed to achieve our positions, such as on property rights and the electoral system.
4.7 In summary, the result of COSATU`s constitutional demands on labour relations clauses achieved major victories on the following areas: the unqualified right to strike; exclusion of a lock-out provision; the right to picket; provisions allowing for closed and agency shops; and the right to engage in collective bargaining. A challenge by the minority parties to the constitutional court objecting to the certification of some clauses in the Constitution resulted in the Constitution being returned to the Constitutional Assembly mid-1996, including on the formulation (S241) which had insulated the LRA from constitutional challenge; and on the collective bargaining clause (S23(4)), on the basis that this excluded the right of individual employers to engage in collective bargaining (i.e. entrenched centralised bargaining). In the negotiations which followed, we successfully resisted attempts by the NP and DP to reintroduce the lock-out clause through the back door. On the collective bargaining clause, a formulation was arrived at which allows for centralised bargaining. But the extent to which individual employers can be bound by centralised bargaining will have to be determined by the courts, since a challenge to the LRA on this basis is still likely. The final constitutional formulation which was arrived at probably allows for legislated centralised bargaining, because it provides that the collective bargaining rights of employers and employer federations can be regulated by law.
4.8 In relation to clauses other than labour relations, we also secured significant constitutional gains. These included provisions stipulating that all organs of state, including public enterprises must be accountable, transparent and development–oriented, provide services equitably, and respond to peoples needs. This could provide the basis for a constitutional challenge against attempts to make public enterprises profit driven.
4.9 The clause on procurement policy allows for government to tender not only on the basis of price, but also to achieve other social objectives e.g. affirmative action, employment creation, and the maintenance of labour standards. The clause dealing with access to information allows unions to demand information from business in order to protect workers` constitutional rights. On provincial powers, the CA was bound by the Interim Constitution to give Provinces powers beyond what we would have liked. The Constitution does provide that Provinces are subject to a national override, to ensure that national standards and norms are adhered to. We failed, however, to exclude the property clause, entrenching current property rights, from the Constitution. Despite this, there is limited scope within the current formulation for the state to engage in expropriation and reform to deal with inequalities in property ownership – related to land and other property. On socio-economic rights, a number of provisions oblige the state to take measures to ensure the progressive realisation of the rights of all citizens, including access to health care, housing, land, water, social security, education and nutrition.
4.10 A systematic process of detailed policy reformulation was undertaken in each Department or Ministry after the 1994 elections. Theoretically, each Ministry was supposed to release a discussion paper or Green Paper for public comment. This was to be followed by a White Paper which, as amended in the Parliamentary process, would constitute final government policy on that particular issue. Where appropriate, papers would also be tabled for discussion in the relevant NEDLAC chamber. Major legislation would then flow from this policy process. While not all Ministries followed this process, many did. Green and White Papers were produced on numerous areas, including: RDP, public service restructuring, housing, employment standards and employment equity, education and training, transport, science and technology, national health, telecommunications, public works, social welfare, and local government, amongst others. In addition to this was the formulation of an overriding macroeconomic policy framework, GEAR, and its release in June 1996. This was never released as a Green or White Paper for public discussion, nor was it tabled in NEDLAC or any other forum.
4.11 There are also independent commissions of enquiry, often appointed by the President, to look into a specific issue. While they receive public submissions, their reports are generally finalised independent of the parliamentary process and the executive. Examples of these Commissions have been the Labour Market Commission, the Presidential Review Commission on restructuring the Public Service, the Commission on Remuneration of Public Representatives and the Katz Commission on taxation.
4.12 COSATU has made inputs into a number of these processes. However, these have tended to be at the tail end of the process; i.e. once the Green/White Paper is published for comment. Where these have been tabled in NEDLAC, as with Employment Standards and Employment Equity, we have involved in direct negotiations on them. Often it is too late to fundamentally influence the shape and the content of the policy, particularly when it reaches the White Paper or final phase. This is a serious problem where the policy paper strongly diverges from Alliance policy or the approach adopted by the RDP. In this case what is required is virtually reworking the policy from scratch, rather than attempting to influence the detail. It has thus become apparent that it is critical to shape the architecture of the policy, rather than attempting to tinker with the furniture. Business has grasped this point well, and puts its energies into shaping policy in the early stages, through engagement at various levels, as well as through its technocrats advising various Ministries, or seconded to specific departments
4.13 The above notwithstanding, we have made a number of significant interventions, both in NEDLAC and through our Parliamentary Office, which have influenced the direction of policy. We opposed the White Paper on Social Welfare insofar as it merely sought to tinker with the fragmented and selective social security system inherited from apartheid. As a result of our intervention through the parliamentary portfolio committee, in February this year, it was agreed to amend the paper to provide for a process, involving government departments and civil society, of developing a comprehensive social security system, as proposed in the RDP. In the case of the Green Paper on Employment Equity (dealing with affirmative action) we are negotiating in NEDLAC to have the focus of the Paper broadened to deal with the question of wage inequality.
4.14 In a number of instances, the result of engaging at the tail end of policy has been that we find ourselves supported by parliamentary committees (driven ANC MPs) in proposing a different policy direction from that of the Department. While in some instances this leads to a shift in government approach (as in the social security example) in others it leads to a stalemate, with the parliamentary committee supporting our approach, and the government or the Department sticking to theirs.
4.15 A glaring example of this is the housing policy. COSATU, in its submission to the parliamentary housing committee in April 1996, proposed the need for the mass provision of public housing, and the setting up of a housing parastatal. This differed fundamentally from the approach of the White Paper and the policy being implemented by government, which relied heavily on a private sector driven strategy. The housing committee broadly supported the thrust of our proposals, as did the Alliance Secretariat. We engaged in a political process involving the Department in an attempt to bridge these differences. However, it has become apparent that we are dealing with a fundamental policy difference, which requires a political shift by government. This shift is made more difficult once they have already committed themselves to a particular policy approach. The housing issue also raises questions about the role of the state in the economy and the provision of basic needs, given the divergent conceptions in the RDP and GEAR.
4.16 We are beginning to make some modest advances, through being more proactive, in engaging in the early part of the policy formulation phase, rather than reacting when it is too late. This is a function, partly of the increased levels of organisation of our parliamentary operation and the fact that we are better placed to react more quickly, as well as the preparedness by some Ministries to involve us more actively in processes. Our wide ranging criticisms, for example on the Green Paper on Public Works, has resulted in us being requested to sit on the task team, in order to incorporate our comments into the White Paper. We were similarly requested to second someone onto the task team drafting the Green Paper on Migration and were involved through the NTB in drafting the Green Paper on a Skills Development Strategy as well as policy proposals of the Ministry of Safety and Security.
4.17 The key question facing us is to ensure that our participation in these processes is meaningful and that we harness our capacity to engage effectively. Failure to do this will result in our participation legitimating processes where the Federation has not been properly represented. There have been instances where trade union representation in policy processes has, for this reason, not advanced workers interests. We also need to consider whether, with the necessary organisation of our resources, we should be pushing for a more comprehensive involvement in these initial processes of policy development, where workers interests are affected. This is institutionalised, for example in Norway, where Ministries as a matter of course invite the Federation to participate in all relevant committees formulating policy.
4.18 A range of interventions have been made by COSATU through the parliamentary process, on issues relating to economic policy – in areas of fiscal and monetary policy, trade policy, and investment and retirement funds. In May 1996 we made submissions into hearings on the Smith Committee on Retirement Funds, on our perspective of a democratised and consolidated system of pension and provident funds, investment policy, taxation of funds, and funding of public sector pensions. In January 1996, we made submissions on taxation to hearings on the report of the Katz Commission, on our approach to company tax, VAT, and the need for a more progressive system of taxation. As a result of this and other pressure, VAT was not increased, income tax relief was extended to low income earners, and some corporate tax was not removed. The discussion on the overhaul of the taxation system is ongoing, with further reports of the Commission. In July 1996, a special parliamentary committee was set up to conduct hearings on interest rates policy, as a result of COSATU`s pressure, following collusion by banks in raising interest rates. We called for action against bank collusion, as well as restructuring of the Reserve Bank. The banks reversed their increase, and the committee supported our proposal to set up a parliamentary committee to look into monetary policy (although this has not yet materialised). In October 1996, the Parliamentary Trade and Industry Committee had hearings on tariff policy, where COSATU advance our approach against generalised tariff reduction; the need for democratisation of the WTO and for a social clause; and for supply-side measures to develop our industries. The committee supported the need for a review of policy, an integrated approach to industrial policy and tariffs, amongst other recommendations.
4.19 Finally, a number of submissions were made on the National Budget to hearings of the Finance Committee in 1995, 1996 and 1997. Apart from substantial concerns raised by COSATU with the approach to taxation and public spending, a major focus of our submissions has been the urgent need for budget reform. In particular, the need for legislation allowing parliament to amend the budget, rather than commenting on the end product. This has become particularly important with the introduction of a three-year budget from 1998-2001. We are currently engaged in efforts to ensure that these reforms are introduced.
4.20 Closely related to these issues of governance and economic policy, is the question of transformation of the public sector, broadly defined. A restructured public sector is not only the major vehicle for the delivery of basic services, but also a critical instrument enabling the democratic state to intervene effectively in transformation of the economy. COSATU`s criticisms of the approach adopted to restructuring of the public sector are well known, and we have made submissions, together with our public sector unions, on a range of related issues. Attempts by government to overhaul the public sector, including through the Presidential Review Commission, the voluntary retrenchment scheme and legislative reform have been largely unsuccessful, because of the adoption of inappropriate policies.
4.21 Beyond our criticisms of this policy, however, COSATU has been unable to drive a transformation agenda in the public sector. We have tended to leave it to our public sector unions to deal with this matter, particularly through the Public Sector Bargaining Chamber, which is packed with old era staff associations. Some successful advances have been made in closing the wage gap in the public sector, but this has been at the expense of allowing a mechanical implementation of public sector cutbacks, which doesn`t take into account the new needs which have to be addressed.
COSATU`s engagement with legislation
4.22 Parliament has passed over 200 laws since 1994. The majority of these are either technical amendments to existing legislation, or legislation to rationalise the legal provisions inherited from apartheid, particularly relating to the Bantustans and TBVC structures. There are however a number of laws which have been passed, or are about to be introduced, which are fundamental and transformative in character. COSATU has engaged with some of these, either supporting progressive Bills, in some cases pushing for amendments or, in cases where we believe the wrong policy is being implemented, opposing them.
4.23 Obviously a major focus has been on key pieces of labour legislation introduced in terms of the Labour Ministry`s five-year plan. Introduction of these legal reforms constitutes a major advance for the labour movement. These key labour laws are: the LRA, which we negotiated through NEDLAC and steered through the parliamentary process, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and Employment Equity Act. Other major labour legislation currently being finalised is the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Disease Bill, and the Human Resource Development and Training Bill.
4.24 In addition to negotiating labour legislation, COSATU has actively supported important pieces of progressive legislation in other spheres, through inputs into parliament. Examples of these have been our support for legislation to make health care more accessible and reduce the price of drugs, legislation to extend telecommunications to all communities, and the Termination of Pregnancy Bill. Even where we have supported these Bills, we have at the same time proposed amendments which we believe will strengthen or improve the Bills, for example by proposing that the government`s Medicines Bill needs to be strengthened by removing VAT on medicines.
4.25 In some instances we have had to engage with legislation where a key aspect of the Bill is problematic for the trade union movement, although we don`t oppose the Bill as a whole. This requires targeted interventions aimed at amending specific clauses. This approach was successfully achieved in submissions on the Small Business Bill, in October 1996, which resulted in the removal or amendment of provisions which could be used to undermine labour standards. A historic victory was scored with our submission on the Pensions Bill in February 1996, which resulted in the mandatory (minimum) representation of workers on boards of funds being increased from the one third proposal in the Bill to one half, in the face of opposition from business in general and the industry in particular. An important condition for the success of these interventions is the preparation of legal wording of alternative clauses, which can be put forward for adoption by the parliamentary committee.
4.26 We have opposed legislation which we believe is not in line with the policies advanced by COSATU and the RDP. We registered our opposition this year to legislation which deprived the SABC of revenue from the sale of its radio stations. Our approach in terms of the NFA has been that revenue generated by restructuring of state assets need to be reinvested into these public enterprises, to ensure a more effective public service. In the case of legislation on tax holidays, in September 1996, we took the view that the proposal to exempt certain companies from paying tax (in terms of GEAR) was problematic because it undermined the tax base of our country, unfairly threatened businesses paying tax in the same sector, and entailed a further shift of the tax burden to working people. However, we made a tactical decision, while registering our opposition to the tax holidays Bill, to put forward proposals to limit the negative effects. We submitted a number of amendments to the Bill, some of which were accepted, and some of which the Minister agreed to implement in regulations.
4.27 A more aggressive approach is needed from our side in initiating legislation in strategic areas. There are a range of possible ways this can be done, including piloting proposals via NEDLAC, sponsoring a private members motion (a Bill proposed by an MP), or simply proposing legislation directly to a Ministry. This is new territory, so greater clarity is needed on the protocols required to pursue this approach. Proposals to proactively initiate legislation should be considered for amongst others – a Social Plan Act, prescribed assets legislation, amendments to the Reserve Bank Act, and legislation to provide a framework for the restructuring of public enterprises, including the setting up of new enterprises such as a housing parastatal.
5.1 The Negotiations Department handles all social and economic issues related to social and economic policy, particularly those that are being dealt with in NEDLAC, the Alliance and other policy related matters.
National Public Works Programme
5.2 COSATU has always maintained that the National Public Works Programme can play a pivotal role in fast-tracking the programme of social infrastructure development and expansion in order to massively increase job creation. We argued in the Social Equity document for the fast-tracking of the Public Works Programme through contributions from our pension and provident funds as well as contributions from business and government.
5.3 We have had a series of meetings with representatives from business and government to discuss how best to deal with the question of payment in the Public Works Programmes. While we have conceded to a task-based payment system in return for training of all those involved in the programme, it is clear that we have not been able to carry one of our affiliates along on this matter. CAWU has openly opposed this view. As a result, we have no national guidelines on Public Works Programmes. Business cannot be left alone to determine these issues.
5.4 COSATU engaged in the discussion of the Green Paper on Public Works in the Development Chamber and has made another submission to the process of drafting the White Paper. We also participated in the task team set up by the Minister of Public Works, Jeff Radebe. The Minister is committed to the expansion of the Public Works and has subsequently requested an extra one million rands for 1998 as a result of our intervention. In our submission we emphasised that the task-based payment system should only be used in the Public Works Programme and not in the entire construction industry
5.5 The forum has held a series of meetings with a view to developing a position for the federation regarding the rationalisation of the process of electricity provision to the advantage of the previously marginalised communities. The committee is by NUM, NUMSA and SAMWU and is coordinated at federation level. All these unions individually have elements of electricity provision.
5.6 Despite these meetings, we are not yet in a position to RECommend what direction we should take as a federation. This is largely because the three unions organising in this sector cannot agree on key questions such as how distribution should be done, who should do it, and the role of local government in the electricity distribution in the light of strong views on regional distribution, etc.
Alliance Policy Coordination
5.7 Since the 1994 general elections, the Alliance has stopped working jointly on policy formulation of policy. Increasingly ANC policy has been formulated outside ANC structures.
5.8 The ANC Lekgotla at the beginning of the year recognised this and appointed comrade Tito Mboweni to head the ANC policy department and to work closely with the Alliance structures. Since this decision, we have been invited to two meetings to deal with the matter and to help rationalise policy formulation at the level of the ANC. It became evident in this process that the ANC had a lot to do to achieve this objective. This included pulling together resources, both at provincial and local level. This process is unfolding and we are optimistic that, by the time we hold Congress, it could already be showing results. The ANC has also established an Economic Transformation Committee to develop economic policy. While the SACP and COSATU are invited to this structure, it remains and ANC structure.
5.9 This is a positive development as it brings policy formulation back to the ANC. The Alliance process, as reported elsewhere in this report, will hopefully lead to greater participation of the Alliance partners in policy formulation. The ANC will hold a policy conference from 17-19 October 1997 to which COSATU and the SACP have been invited.
5.10 The RDP Council was established by the Alliance to help coordinate-ordinate the implementation of the RDP. The council has various committees representative of the sectors of the Alliance, including health, housing, labour etc. These committees were expected to report on RDP delivery in their sectors and make interventions on emerging policy proposals. This proved to be an effective tool to assess delivery. However, beyond that, it has had very little impact.
5.11 There has often been a debate about the role of ANC cabinet members in the RDP Council. It appears that some viewed it with suspicion as encroaching on their responsibilities as Ministers. This was even more so when the council wanted to establish if there was consistency between what they do in their government departments and what the RDP base document expects of them. Indeed, research conducted found that, to a large degree, certain areas of the RDP were being ignored. The ANC Lekgotla felt that the RDP Council’s relevance be reviewed. Since then, no meetings of the RDP Council have been convened.
Labour Market Commission
5.12 On 18 June 1996, the Minister of Labour, comrade Tito Mboweni, made public a report on the work of the Labour Market Commission. The commission dealt with a variety of areas, including industrial strategy, wage determination and labour migration.
5.13 COSATU appointed a three-person committee to advise it on how to deal with the report, including identifying areas where the report embraces progressive views sympathetic to labour. The committee could not deal with all the issues. The following recommendations were made:
5.14 That we endorse the following chapters with certain qualifications:
5.15 NEDLAC was launched on 18 February 1995, with four chambers: Trade and Industry, Development, Public Finance and Monetary Policy, and Labour Market.
Labour Market Chamber negotiations
Labour Relations Act, No 66 of 1995
5.16 It is common knowledge that we now have a new Labour Relations Act, Act no. 66 of 1995, which was the subject of intense negotiations and struggles between the parties. It is by and large progressive legislation, but reflects certain areas of compromise.
5.17 The major debate currently is about introducing certain amendments to the Act. For example, COSATU has argued for a Social Plan Act, which would inevitably require amendments to the legislation. We have been told by our negotiators that the state law advisers have argued that this will disorganise certain provisions of the Act and is therefore not a viable option. We are contesting this assertion.
5.18 A similar argument is made regarding the transplanting of the section that deals with Severance Pay from the LRA, Act 66 of 1995, to the Basic Conditions of Employment Legislation, once it is in place. While this was agreed to in principle in the negotiations with government, it argues that this will interfere seriously with other provisions of the LRA. This therefore means that a considerable amount of time may lapse before this agreement is actualised.
Code of Good Practice on Retrenchment
5.19 In the LRA negotiations, an agreement was reached that, as part of and in line with our new LRA, we must establish a code of good practice on retrenchment. The parties at NEDLAC are currently negotiating this issue and we remain far from reaching an agreement.
5.20 The areas of contention are among others, what constitutes retrenchment based on operational requirement and what notice period should be given to workers once it becomes clear on the part of the employers that retrenchment is a possibility. Other areas include the benefit that should accrue to workers once the company becomes insolvent.
Code of Good Practice on Picketing
5.21 We are in a similar situation as above. Negotiations have begun but there is currently no agreement.
Demarcation of Industries
5.22 We have tabled a document to NEDLAC which is our position for negotiation. Both business and government have done the same. Negotiations have now commenced.
5.23 The new Labour Court and Labour Appeal Court have been established. The Judge President of the Labour Court and the Labour Appeal Court is Justice John Myburgh. The judges serving on the Courts are as follows:
Labour Appeal Court
5.24 Permanent Judges: Judges Myburgh, Froneman, Cameron, Conradie and Nicholson;
Acting Judges: Judges Kroon, Combrink, Ngcobo and Nugent.
5.25 Permanent Judges: Judges Basson and Revelas;
Acting Judges: Judges Landman, Zondo and Mlambo.
5.26 What is significant about the Labour Court and the Labour Appeal Court is the fact that organised labour was actively involved in the process of appointing judges, even though we did not support Myburgh’s nomination. Through a process involving the Judicial Services Commission at NEDLAC, interviews were held with candidates, and recommendations were made by both institutions to the Minister of Justice and the State President. This marks a major change in the way in which the judiciary has been appointed in the past, and is a real gain in the new democracy for workers. It also represents the realisation of one of the demands of the Workers Charter campaign.
5.27 The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) was established in early 1996. The implementation of the new LRA was dependent on a properly set up CCMA, and the Act could accordingly not be promulgated until the CCMA was functioning properly.
5.28 A tripartite governing body was established, with three representatives from business, organised labour and government to oversee the setting up of the Commission, establishing offices in nine towns and cities, setting up nine provincial structures, employing 78 full-time Commissioners, and 270 part-time Commissioners.
5.29 The central objectives of the CCMA are to ensure that disputes, including unfair dismissals, are dealt with quickly (generally within a 30-day period), non-judicially (to solve problems rather than to take an excessively legal approach to issues), and flexibly (less reliance on formal procedures and more on attempts to get to the essential justice in a case).
5.30 In the period since 11 November 1996 when the new LRA was implemented, the Commission has maintained a 70% settlement rate for cases referred to it. The bulk of cases are unfair dismissals. The Commission has about 4 000 cases referred to it every month.
Negotiations on Basic Conditions of Employment
5.31 Negotiations on basic conditions of employment began in April 1996 and deadlocked in October 1996. There were various meetings, including bilaterals, with a view to finding solutions to the areas that resulted in a deadlock. On 16 April 1997, the cabinet met to give a mandate to its negotiators
5.32 This mandate became a source of conflict as both business and government opportunistically used this to imply that the deadlock we had reached and therefore a decision we had reached to embark on the half-day action on 12 May 1997 was not justified. They argued that we cannot declare a deadlock on an un-mandated position of government. Business South Africa (BSA) took us to court with an application that an interdict be served on us regarding the action we had called. They based their application on Section 77 (1)c of the LRA NUMber 66 of 1995. They argued that the matter giving rise to protest action had not been considered by NEDLAC and, accordingly, our action was not necessary. The court ruled in favour of BSA with a split decision but did not interdict COSATU as requested by BSA. While two judges lifted the protection conferred to workers by section 77 of LRA, the one Judge ruled in our favour.
5.33 We have taken a decision to challenge this interpretation in the Constitutional Court. Currently we have agreed that, despite all these processes, the parties have failed to resolve the areas of disagreement and that we have therefore deadlocked. The following remain areas of deadlock:
5.34 The Bill suggests a 45-hour working week and 8 hours per day for workers who work 6 days in a week, and 9 hours per day for those working 5 days in a week. This is to apply to all workers regardless of their sectors. We have maintained that the statute provides for mechanisms and process to achieve a 40-hour working week. This therefore remains an area of deadlock.
5.35 Both labour and government agree that the status quo with regard to Sunday work be retained. Business, on the other hand, argues that Sunday work should not be given special treatment. As far as they are concerned Sunday is a normal day. This remains another area of deadlock, even though government and labour are closer to one another. It is possible that a proper wording could result in an agreement between the two.
Maternity leave benefit
5.36 We have maintained our position for a six months maternity leave of which at least four months must be paid. Agreement has now been reached in the Alliance that the maternity period will be six months. The ANC, whilst agreeing in principle to payment of the four months, will not make a commitment on the level of payment until the task team established by the Ministry of Labour makes its RECommendations. There is therefore no agreement on this matter at this point.
5.37 We have maintained our position for 16 years of age as a threshold for entrance into the labour market. The Bill argues for fifteen years and business supports the position in the Bill. There is no agreement on this.
5.38 Variation has, throughout the negotiations process been, seriously contested. This is so precisely because it has a potential of reversing whatever agreement that could have been reached in the negotiations, except for core areas. It is our view as labour and in particular COSATU, that the variation model contained in the bill leads directly to this situation.
5.39 We have therefore consistently opposed the model in the bill because we believe that it makes provision for the downward variation of rights. In addition, it makes provision for individual agreements to change the provision of the statute, as well as granting discretionary powers to the minister to vary down the rights. We believe that the bill should provide the basic floor of rights which can only be improved. Therefore we believe in the upward variation of rights.
5.40 Both business and government have argued that we have not understood the model in the bill and that it does not erode the rights. However, after careful consideration of the model we remain convinced that structured as it is the model will result in the erosion of rights.
5.41 The bill makes provision for the averaging of working time. The proposal is that the averaging be done over 45 hours. We have opposed the concept of averaging and have, in addition, indicated that we have no mandate to discuss the issue outside the 40 hour work week.
5.42 The bill sets overtime pay at time and a half. We have agreed to this rate of pay while business has objected. This objection by business has motivated government to urge us to re-examine the matter. We have objected to this on the basis that this is as far as we are concerned an area of agreement and we cannot reopen.
5.43 There are various other areas that we have not seriously focused on in the past. These areas are largely technical but too important to ignore. These areas include the monitoring of standards and administrative obligations. We need to carefully look at these areas as well.
Ratification of ILO Conventions
5.44 NEDLAC has recommended that the following six ILO core conventions be ratified by government:
The first two conventions have been endorsed by government.
5.45 One of the campaigns taken up by the labour movement has been to change the level of preference of workers` claims when companies go into liquidation. The current law gives a range of preferences to other creditors, including the Receiver of Revenue. It is only after these creditors have been paid out that the claims of workers are considered. We tabled demands to change this at NEDLAC, and after negotiation and support from the Labour Ministry, an agreement was reached which would give worker claims in the event of liquidation a higher level of preference.
5.46 The amendment to the Insolvency Act:
5.47 After meeting the claims of secured creditors, the monies in an insolvent estate are paid out to meet any funeral expenses of the insolvent, the costs of sequestration and execution of the insolvent estate. Thereafter the claims of the employees will be paid.
5.48 A draft Bill has been forwarded to the Department of Justice, and for consideration, to the state law advisors.
Negotiations on the Skills Development Strategy
5.49 The Green Paper on Skills Development was officially released by the Department of Labour in March 1997. The strategy seeks to address the weaknesses in the current apprenticeship system. It introduces learnerships and accordingly the financing of learnership programmes with a view to imparting skills to the majority of workers and would-be workers.
5.50 The government has now published a Bill which we are still studying. Areas of disagreement between us and employers are likely to be on the levy as well as the collection and disbursement of resources.
5.51 Since we tabled a preliminary document, it is important that, as a matter of urgency, we produce a well thought out document.
5.52 It is important to note that business is seriously contesting the question of fast-tracking the financing of training in the negotiations. This became a serious area of contention in talks about talks, as was the case in the Management Committee prior to that.
Trade and Industry Chamber
5.53 There is ongoing debate on what constitutes an industrial strategy. This matter remains on NEDLAC’s agenda. COSATU has identified various areas which should constitute such a strategy, but we have not as yet developed a comprehensive position. We need to do this if we are to shape an industrial policy that is sensitive to the rights of workers.
5.54 The following constitutes some of the areas that have been discussed by the parties at NEDLAC.
5.55 There is general understanding that an effective and responsive industrial policy should incorporate supply-side measures. These include measures such as funding for SMMEs, the tax holiday schemes for companies introduced by government despite our opposition, the small and medium manufacturing development programme, the technology and human resource for industry programme, and the programme for industrial innovation.
5.56 All of the above areas are potentially controversial and therefore need serious debate in COSATU and the labour movement as a whole.
5.57 There are a number of incentive schemes available for companies which we need to familiarise ourselves with if we are to develop an approach for COSATU. These are contained in a booklet published by the Department of Trade and Industry.
5.58 Government tabled a paper on industrial strategy in August 1997.
5.59 A number of cluster studies have been conducted under the auspices of the Japanese Grant Fund (JGF) and to date about ten clusters or sectors have been studied. The following specific sectors have been studied: carbon steel; jewelry; household electrical durables; stainless steel; electrical power; petrochemicals; clothing; footwear; auto; ceramics; pharmaceuticals; agro-processing; non-ferrous metals; electronics; aluminum; and mining equipment.
5.60 The JGF has to date produced a comprehensive report on the ceramics, electronics and footwear clusters. The finding of the studies will be made available at enterprise level during the second phase.
Social Clause in Trade
5.61 COSATU tabled a demand at NEDLAC that every trade agreement reached between South Africa and its trading countries should include a Social Clause. This was informed by our experience that wherever such agreements are made, worker rights are compromised. We tabled the following core areas:
5.62 The above areas were ratified by the NEDLAC Summit in June 1996.
5.63 COSATU further participated in the Singapore Ministerial Conference which looked at broad trade and other economic issues. The conference was convened under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation. The labour movement internationally had hoped that the WTO would agree to incorporate the Social Clause in trade in their working agendas. Regrettably, this could not be achieved as the WTO viewed this as an ILO matter. It is important to note that certain developing countries including some trade unions are not yet on board regarding this matter.
Social Plan Legislation
5.64 This matter is currently on the agenda of the Trade and Industry Chamber and there is as yet no agreement on what constitutes a Social Plan. The task team working on this issue has come up with a concept agreement on the Social Plan which still has to be looked at by the parties.
5.65 The aim of the Social Plan is to ensure that, once it becomes evident that an industry is declining and that retrenchments are therefore possible, creative ways are used to prepare workers for this. This should include retraining of workers and giving them skills to use elsewhere.
5.66 COSATU made a proposal for a Social Plan Act which necessitates an amendment of the LRA.
Public Finance and Monetary Policy
5.67 We have often not been able to respond timeously to the budgetary process due to at times a lack of resources from our side to deal with the issues or alternatively being prevented by government’s bureaucratic process from engaging effectively.
5.68 Unless there is a conscious effort from our side to deploy resources for this process we are likely to continue to respond too late to effect any meaningful change. This will be even more so with the new government’s approach of a three-year budget cycle and with certain budgetary responsibilities allocated to provinces.
5.69 However, we have been able to effect certain limited changes through our engagement with government and some public pronouncements that we have made. For example, luxury goods, alcohol and cigarettes, are now subject to a special taxation. Also crucial to note is the bringing into the tax net of certain categories previously not counted, e.g. taxation for usage of company cars during days other than working ones. We have succeeded in ensuring that basic goods remain zero rated.
Financial and Fiscal Commission
5.70 The new constitution makes provision for the establishment a number of Commissions, such as the Human Rights Commission, the Land Commission and the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC). The FFC is tasked with developing recommendations on South Africa’s inter-governmental financial relations. This means that the FFC makes recommendations on how much of the national budget should go to central government and how much should go to the provinces and local government. In addition, it develops criteria on how the provincial share of the budget should be divided between the different provinces. In doing this, it needs to consider how to give effect to appropriate norms for education, health and other areas of social spending. It also develops recommendations on the borrowing powers of provinces.
5.71 Over this period, we have contributed to the work of the Commission, and its first set of recommendations has been tabled with government. A formula has been developed to ensure that the allocation of funds takes into account the disparities of the past, and the need to promote equity through our fiscal system.
5.72 Labour has raised the issue of labour standards in the State Tender Board, arguing that no company should get any state work if it is not implementing the minimum labour standards of the country. That is, companies tendering for state work must be registered for UIF, Workmen`s Compensation, the appropriate industry Bargaining Council, and Industry Training Boards where these exist. Government has broadly accepted these conditions. COSATU is seeking to expand the list of labour standards which companies need to comply with before qualifying for tender rights.
5.73 Another area we have focused on is job creation and job retention. We have intervened in specific cases to ensure that local jobs are protected and promoted. For example, when we noticed that one tender for shoes for the prisons in South Africa was going to be awarded to a non-South African company, we ensured that a local company was given the opportunity to come in at the same price. The South African company was then awarded the contract.
Macro-economic policy debate
5.74 The past year witnessed three major contributions to macro-economic debates. There were concerns about the economic path that government was to pursue and big business began to lobby government on their model. The government initially emerged with a document which, even before it received wide publicity was withdrawn as it was argued that it did not represent government policy.
5.75 Business emerged with a document titled Growth For All. This document basically called for labour market flexibility with a two-tier labour market with a category for the organised, skilled and highly paid on the one hand and the unskilled and unorganised on the other. Labour rejected this as conservative and a recipe for perpetual instability in the labour market and the economy.
5.76 As labour we emerged with a document called "Social Equity and Job Creation — the key to a stable future.’ This document was not a response to the Growth For All document though it tackled certain key areas raised in this document, for example, job creation. It was based on the contributions of the labour negotiations school held from 4-8 March 1996.
5.77 While this had happened, government was working on its own position. Their position was later captured in what is now known as Growth Employment and Redistribution (Gear). Surprisingly, this document embraced almost all the values enshrined in the business Growth For All document. We rejected this position while business unreservedly endorsed it.
5.78 The ANC’s NEC later ratified this government position. We have maintained to date that we remain opposed to Gear and we have made our position known to the Alliance as a whole. Three meetings were held at the request of the Deputy President. The agreement to develop an approach to macro-economic policies was not pursued due to time pressures on those who were supposed to work on a draft. The President has since acknowledged that it was wrong for Trevor Manuel`s to declare the policy non-negotiable. He also feels that, notwithstanding Trevor’s statement, we should be ready to negotiate with the government on GEAR.
5.79 Many of the discussions in the last twelve months have focused on the failure of government`s housing programme to get off the ground properly. The Botshabelo Accord reached between various stakeholders defined a housing programme that will be market driven. It required for its success, full support by the banking sector, which will be the main providers of finance. Government`s role was limited to the provision of a subsidy and through arranging `boycott insurance` for previously redlined areas where there had been rates boycotts. The subsidy available is based on income, and is as follows:
5.80 Now, two years after the launch of that programme, housing delivery remains in crisis. By the end of April 1997, the Department of Housing reported that 192 000 units had been built or were under construction. This is 10% of the urban housing shortage. The private sector has not been as supportive as government had originally envisaged, and the level of housing stock has not met the targets set out in the RDP. While a number of subsidies have been approved, and many paid out, this has not always meant the building of new houses. The housing programme has been characterised by disagreements around the accuracy of the figures used, allegations of widespread abuse and fraud, and a lack of active involvement by government in housing.
5.81 Labour has advanced the following key principles around the housing programme:
5.82 Organised labour has met with initial resistance from the Department of Housing, but more recently the Minister entered into direct talks with us, and has been prepared to give consideration to these proposals as the basis for a new housing policy. Our strategy has been two pronged. We have been having direct bilaterals with the Minister and keeping housing on the agenda of NEDLAC.
Restructuring of the state assets
5.83 On 7 December 1995 the government announced that certain state assets were to be restructured and a number privatised. COSATU was consulted a few hours before the announcement was made. A special EXCO was convened and a programme to protest against the unilateral nature of the announcement agreed upon. After discussions between labour and government the National Framework Agreement (NFA) was signed on 1 February 1996.
5.84 This report is a brief assessment of the state asset restructuring process thus far. It will cover COSATU’s position on restructuring of state owned enterprises (SOEs), the provisions of the NFA and some of the challenges the process presents for labour.
5.85 COSATU’s position on the restructuring of SOEs acknowledges that the RDP envisaged a role for the private sector, but it equally envisaged a role for the state in the productive economy. COSATU’s position emphasises the role of the state in socio-economic transformation. Central to COSATU’s position is that the state should play a prominent role in expansion of infrastructure, human resource development and job creation. The federation remains committed to fighting for employment security, training and re-deployment of workers, implementation of affirmative action and respect for labour standards and worker rights.
5.86 Our view is that:
5.87 The CEC also identified sectors that should be in state hands. These are post and telecommunication, electricity, public transport, housing, health, water, state forests, municipal services and education.
5.88 The restructuring of SOEs presents a number of challenges and raises pertinent questions.
5.89 Government has chosen to address the issue at a technical level (using arguments of efficiency and effectiveness) rather than at a political level. This implies that the central tendency of privatisation is towards debt reduction, and by implication, a larger role for the private corporate sector and a lesser role for the public sector.
5.90 While labour has accepted the need for the privatisation of some non-strategic parastatals or divisions of some of the parastatals, there is no real commitment on the part of government to expand and entrench those sectors that are strategic and essential for social and economic development. Government has also preferred to see privatisation as the only solutions to public sector restructuring and is unwilling to consider public sector alternatives
5.91 The NFA has been reduced to "one way information sharing sessions & quot; (government to labour) about the privatisation process instead of restructuring issues. There is also no real sense that government is serious about consider alternatives to privatisation
5.92 The impression is that labour has been dragged along rather than being proactively involved in the process. An example is the Telkom restructuring, where it was clear that government made no attempts to consider alternatives to a Strategy Equity Partner (SEP). This is also the case with other enterprise restructuring.
5.93 Dealing with restructuring on a case by case basis has left no room for trade off and compromise and linking issues. For example, an agreement on privatising some assets (an SEP for Telkom and ACL, wholesale privatisation of Sun Air) could be linked with the entrenchment and expansion of state control over essential areas such as rail passenger transport and housing.
5.94 There is little evidence to suggest that this process will facilitate a substantial transfer of economic power into the hands of black people. It seems likely that there will be enrichment of a few. This relates to the definition of black economic empowerment.
5.95 Neither government nor labour has as yet developed positions or guidelines on the proposed National Empowerment Fund (NEF). Central to labour’s position should include mechanisms and investment positions that redistribute wealth to historically disadvantaged communities.
5.96 COSATU needs to come up with guidelines and a framework within which union investment companies operate. It is no longer a question of whether unions should invest but rather how and which values and ethics inform investment decisions.
The following is a brief summary of restructuring activity at enterprise level:
5.97 The unions and government are negotiating as follows:
5.98 Wholesale privatisation has been agreed. RC constitution has to be agreed upon. To fast track the process the following issues are being addressed by government:
Forestry and Agriculture
ABAKOR: FAWU & amp; independent unions
5.99 Information outstanding.
5.100 Labour and management put forward separate restructuring plans. Consensus was reached on the following:
Main points of disagreement are:
Other issues are:
AGRICULTURAL PARASTATALS (Tracor, Magwa & Ulimocor): SAAPAWU, FAWU, SACCAWU, NEHAWU
Following cabinet’s decision to liquidate the Eastern Cape parastatals, intervention on a political level resulted in a delay in implementing this. One of the recommendations from the task team appointed by the premier, involving labour and other stakeholders, was that an alternative is to establish the Eastern Cape Agricultural Corporation & Rural Development Agency. The existing parastatals will be closed as the Agency will take over the administrative functions and carry out the necessary functions to ensure effective transformation takes place. On 1 August government liquidated the parastatals and the irrigation schemes, Ncora, Qamata and Keiskammahoek. Unions were not informed of this decision. The unions are in agreement that the parastatals need to be restructured. SAAPAWU’s position is that an interim board should have been appointed and the Agency constituted to oversee the restructuring process.
5.102 At the time of writing this report, Cde. Dickson Motha had written an urgent letter to Minister Hanekom requesting he intervene on a political level and also convene an extraordinary meeting with the Eastern Cape authorities and all stakeholders including the unions, the Alliance and the NEC of the ANC.
Minerals and energy
5.103 After some difficulties, the RC has been reconstitution. NUM has held bilaterals with government. Recommendations from the RC to Minister Sigcau are being discussed at a Board meeting of ALEXKOR on 28 July 1997.
5.104 There are discussions taking place on the restructuring of the electricity industry with reference to electricity generation, transmission and distribution. The unions involved do not have a common position. Government’s position is to have regional distributors with generation and transmission at a national level.
5.105 It should be noted that there are other restructuring activities taking place that are not part of the NFA process, for example the SABC, provincial agricultural parastatals and prison restructuring. The last labour caucus (held on 7 August 1997) acknowledged that it would not be able to bring everything on board, but it needs to be aware of what is happening and intervene where necessary.
5.106 The lack of coordination between the different sectors was also acknowledged. It was resolved that sector labour groupings should be revived to coordinate their activities and input at enterprise RTC level.
Gear and our lives
5.107 When Gear was presented to the country as a non-negotiable policy, the federation warned that it will have a profoundly negative effect on society, particularly workers and the poor. Gear limits the potential for the effective use of the state in driving development and job creation and as such is not a framework appropriate to effective implementation of the RDP.
5.108 At the time, we were the only major force advocating this view and consequently we were ignored and told that we are spoilers. We were never convinced by Gear’s attempt to sell its restrictive and inappropriate economic policies with the promise of ambitious targets. The fact that over a year has passed without government taking heed of COSATU’s concerns represents a period of lost opportunity for the RDP.
5.109 The report attempts to highlight a few areas where Gear has not just failed to deliver but has had a devastating impact on our lives, just as we warned when it was announced.
5.110 The main characters of Gear are the reduction of the budget deficit to 3% of GDP, removal of the exchange controls and reduction of tariffs. Gear is based on an assumption that the reduction of the role of the state in the economy and the liberalisation of markets will encourage increased private investment. While clearly private investment is critical to growth and job creation, Gear’s restrictive approach is recognise not one that will encourage sufficient private investment as it fails to recognise the necessary role for state-led infrastructure investment in promoting a productive economic environment. The importance of public investment in stimulating private investment (so called crowding-in effect) is not recognised, neither is the important role of the government in coordinating an effective industrial policy properly considered.
5.111 The key question is whether a reduction in the deficit will help us to deliver RDP targets, whether removal of the exchange controls will lead to greater employment opportunities and whether tariff reduction even above the rate of the terms of the GATT will lead to job creation. COSATU’s view is that this policy will not work and must be reconsidered.
5.112 The fact that effective fiscal policy has been neutralised by Gear is reflected in the 1997/8 budget, the first under the auspices of Gear. The real cut of non-debt repayment expenditure was 4,5% to 5,0%. This led to cuts to certain RDP priorities like education, which was cut by up to 6,2% and labour was cut by 14,1%,
5.113 According to NIEP, at the provincial level the total expenditure cut was by 3%. The Eastern Cape, which is one of the poorest provinces, had its budget slashed by 9,9%, whereas the other poor province, Northern Province, saw its budget slashed by 1,6%. Only Gauteng and Northern Cape received an increase of 4,2% and 1,4% respectively.
5.114 The total capital expenditure cut for provinces amounts to a massive 14,1% while their overall current expenditure cut was 1,9% compared to 1996/7 allocations. The overall budgets of the provinces for education, transportation, public works, and local government has been cut. The capital expenditure of all provinces on these key RDP related issues has been cut.
5.115 The logic of Gear is that deficit reduction is necessary to allow for sustainable growth and slim government. This is flawed on two counts: firstly, the development experiences of all advanced and newly developing economies show clearly that large, but well managed, budget deficits are necessary if government is to provide the impetus for economic expansion. Budget deficits are able to decline again when growth rate has increased and tax revenues rise. Secondly, Gear fails to explore the possibility of restructuring the budget items, particularly the public sector funds which could be shifted to a pay as you go system, in order to reduce government debt and create the space for increased government infrastructure expenditure.
5.116 Another aspect of the Gear budget is that the push for lower company taxes has continued. This means that the tax burden continues to be placed firmly on the shoulders of individuals. The graph below depicts how this tax burden has shifted from companies to individuals. As it can be seen from the graph, this brake occurred in 1982 following neo classical Thatcherite policies and deepened with the introduction of the regressive tax in the form of VAT. This is by no mean a mistake but a deliberate ideological position.
Individual Tax Burden
5.117 Recently further exchange control reductions which allowed individuals up to R200 000 abroad has been announced by the government.
Labour Market Policy
5.118 Gear`s strategy largely depends on wage moderation, foreign investment, a host of private sector incentives, labour market flexibility, training, an increase in productivity, a broad social type like agreement, and linking of wage increments to productivity. Gear promised that 400 000 new jobs would be created over five years.
5.119 Again this strategy is failing dismally. The real wage increases did not raise by the 1% envisaged by Gear but has fallen as at March 1997 by 7%. The private sector has not invested in the productive sector of the economy, despite this host of incentives. The apartheid wage gap continues to rise. The government has not pushed the question of linking of wage increments to productivity, however it tried hard this year to give public sector workers increments below the inflation rate. Some bosses, including the Chamber of Mines, tried to negotiate this linkage in the 1997 wage negotiations. Productivity in South Africa has increased by 4% and yet the wages of lower paid workers are falling.
5.120 On the creation of jobs, Gear performed beyond dismally. A total of 171 000 were lost in 1996. In the first quarter of 1997, 42000 jobs were lost.
5.121 The Reserve Bank has been given a blank cheque on monetary policy. The monetary framework has remained unchanged since 1989 and today we are experiencing the highest interest rates in the world. To Reserve Bank Governor Chris Stals, RDP priorities mean nothing as he secured a tight constitutional protection for Reserve Bank, allowing it to remain an unreconstructed apartheid institution. Stals` priority has remained the same - the reduction of the inflation rate. This remains so, despite the rating of the SA inflation rate as "moderate". In essence, the Reserve Bank has set the price for money through interest rates so high that today it is not only ordinary citizens who are strangled, but big and small business feel the pinch and have begun to openly criticize this policy. Even the authors of Gear have begun to complain that the Reserve Bank is too restrictive for their own conservative policies.
5.122 The other important factor is that the Reserve Bank`s setting of high interest rates has effectively blocked any massive expenditure drive by government through a Marshall Plan type investment on social expenditure. The high interest rates also mean that the repayment of the apartheid debt is the second largest item on the budget at over 40 billion rands per year.
5.123 The result of the Reserve Bank policy is now hitting the poor very hard. The economy has slowed down, the currency has been opened to short-term speculators who operate like vultures causing instability of the rand. Employment is falling and investment in the productive sector of the economy has been curtailed severely. A study by NIEP using the New-Keynesian economics and new growth theory shows that the cost of this disinflation policy in terms of forgone GDP growth is between 9 and 13 billion rands in constant 1990 rands for the period between 1990 and 1995.
5.124 The Reserve Bank, and Chris Stals in particular, has had the cheek to suggest that COSATU`s push for improved labour standards will lead to unemployment, when it is in fact their own policy which is blocking growth and lob creation in our economy. COSATU must revitalise its campaign for the transformation of the Reserve Bank and its closer coordination with overall economic policy.
5.125 The key question is how we should convince the government and the ANC that the policy has the capacity of reducing our years of struggle into a struggle for the right to hold ballot papers every five years. The ANC and government remain unconvinced about our arguments, despite this mountain of evidence that Gear only redistributes poverty from the poor to the poorest.
Health and safety
Health, Safety and Environment Conference
5.126 COSATU’s Health, Safety and the Environment Conference in May 1995 outlined the objectives of the Federation in relation to HSE. Central to these were:
5.127 Legislative changes and demands around Occupational Health and Safety
5.128 The 1991 National Congress had called for HSE to be part of a broader industrial and economic restructuring programme and for the right of shop stewards to negotiate issue related to HSE.
Development of national legislation
5.129 COSATU has carried through its mandate from these conferences in its participation in various policy initiatives.
Prevention and Compensation Legislation
5.130 New legislation preceded the new government, the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1993 (OHSA) and the Compensation of Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act of 1993 (COIDA). Both brought significant improvements. Central to both Acts was the recognition that accidents were not the only hazard that workers faced. Both Acts added occupational health to their scope.
5.131 The new Occupational Health and Safety Act was introduced early in 1994.
The Act extended rights and benefits for workers. These included:
Workers and unions have not utilised these rights as fully as we could have.
Incorporation of International standards:
5.132 The most significant gains made since the enactment of the legislation have been the gazetting by the Minister of the Hazardous Chemical Substances Regulations. These regulations bring SA into line with the rest of the world. Similarly the Major Hazard Installation regulations which are soon to be gazetted, follow international standards.
5.133 The Compensation of Occupational Diseases and Injuries Act (COIDA) came into force in early 1994. The major gain in this legislation was the inclusion of a wide list of occupational diseases on the schedule. Again this followed ILO standards. Other changes included:
Other legislation within the Department of Labour with reference to H&S protection
Mines Health and Safety Act
5.134 The NUM secured major advances for miners in their negotiations around the Mines Health and Safety Act. Following the Leon Commission and Vaal Reefs disaster, a new Mines Health and Safety Act was promulgated. This Act took the best aspects of the OHSA but added several crucial worker rights, including the right to refuse dangerous work. It also set up a system of workplace representation and secured the right of the representative trade union to negotiate a collective agreement. These rights represent a major advance on the rights presently enjoyed by all other workers. COSATU needs to achieve its policy objective of one Act for all workers and ensure that these rights enjoyed by miners are extended to all sectors.
Occupational Diseases Mines and Works Act (ODMWA)
5.135 As with the preventative legislation, miners have different provisions as regards the compensation of occupational diseases. A separate Act, the Occupational Diseases Mines and Works Act (ODMWA) governs the compensation of miners for occupational diseases. Comparisons between the two funds reveal differences in benefits and access. Payments are worse under the ODMWA for more seriously disabled workers compared to COIDA, where workers receive a pension. However, less seriously disabled workers receive better benefits than under COIDA. Benefits under ODMWA are more easily accessible to miners than workers under COIDA because ODMWA provide workers with a benefit examination at no cost to the employee.
The Council for Nuclear Safety (CNS)
5.136 This is a statutory body created by the Nuclear Energy Act. The CNS is separate from other Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) inspectorates. Currently new Nuclear Regulation Bill is being drafted. The handling and use of radioactive material outside the nuclear fuel cycle is regulated by the Department of health in terms of the Hazardous Substances Act. The Integrated Pollution Control Policy will address radioactive waste.
Coordination at government level
5.137 In addition to the Departments of Labour and Mineral and Energy Affairs, several other government departments affect workers occupational and environmental health and safety. These include Transport, Environment and Tourism, Water and Forestry, Agriculture, Justice and Foreign Affairs.
National Health and Safety Council
5.138 The Department of labour, in its five year plan, set out a program for OHS. It initiated an investigation into the formation of a national health and safety council and a national health and safety Policy. The Minister appointed a committee of inquiry to draw up a document. A tripartite steering committee was established to drive the process of the NHSC. The Committee of Enquiry supported the establishing a National Occupational Health and Safety Council (NOHSC) by legislation. The council should be a tripartite body with equal representation from government, labour and business.
Policy processes within the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
5.139 COSATU has participated in the developments towards a new National Environmental Policy, initially through an International Mission on Environmental Policy in 1994. The findings of this mission were an important contribution to the initial discussion documents on a National Environment Policy. COSATU participates in these stakeholder forums. COSATU is participating in the development of the National Environment Policy and the subordinate Integrated Pollution Control Policy. Other policy processes such as Coastal Management and Fisheries have had representation from FAWU. This participation has elevated workers role in the environment.
5.140 A COSATU national workshop on Environmental Policy further developed the positions reached during the COSATU national HSE Conference and a labour delegation was sent to both the Consultative National Environmental Policy Process Conferences.
5.141 This participation ensured the centrality of the RDP and secured inclusion of following principles in the Green Paper:
5.142 Various institutional models were proposed which made provision for structures for civil society participation in policy development and implementation at all levels of government.
5.143 The White Paper has yet to be published, but will require significant comment by COSATU to ensure that the gains made in the Green Paper have been carried through.
5.144 The Integrated Pollution Control discussion document towards a White Paper policy similarly acknowledged the role of labour to:
Coordination and education within COSATU
5.145 The 1995 COSATU HSE conference resolutions around coordination and education have not been implemented.
5.146 A train-the trainers seminar was held in 1995 as part of the COSATU training school. However, no other national training has taken place. The effectiveness of previous training needs to be evaluated as part of a future training program. In order to effectively participate in HSE issues, workers and officials must be empowered. This requires a structured, coordinated training initiative which takes place with organisational support within the affiliates.
5.147 Attempts to hold meetings amongst affiliates have met with varied success. A well-attended workshop around the development of the National Environment Policy plotted the course for COSATU’s involvement. A consultative forum to comment on the Green Paper was well attended by COSATU early this year.
5.148 However, a meeting to discuss a draft document on the National Health and Safety Council had little support.
5.149 No mechanism for regular meetings on HSE exist in the federation. Because of the cross-cutting nature of the topic, currently this issue is coordinated jointly between campaigns, negotiations and the education departments.
5.150 While participation in existing policy processes has been possible because the issues have been clearly covered by COSATU’s Conference mandates, this situation will not continue to prevail as more detailed regulations and sub-policies are dealt with. COSATU must develop an appropriate coordinating structure that works and receives support from the affiliates.
5.151 The federation`s aim must be to protect workers’ rights to a healthy and safe environment and workplace and their jobs. Many of the issues will relate not only to Health, Safety and Environment, but will increasingly be linked to industrial restructuring, investment, health and other economic issues. Thus not only health and safety departments of affiliates will need to be involved in upcoming policy processes.
Code on HIV and AIDS
5.152 COSATU developed a code of good practice on HIV and AIDS which was adopted at the Health, Safety and Environment Policy Conference in May 1995
5.153 COSATU participated in the conference on the HIV and AIDS from 31 January-2 February 1996. The conference was held in Zimbabwe and was organised under the auspices of SADC Employment Sector. This conference agreed on a regional code on HIV and AIDS, subject to ratification by member states. The code provides broad guidelines on how to deal with HIV and AIDS both in and outside the workplace.
5.154 COSATU tabled the code at the Labour Market Chamber of NEDLAC.
This process has culminated in a draft bill on HIV and AIDS with emphasis on, among other things, banning of pre-employment testing. Parties, including COSATU, are to make further comments on the Bill, in particular with regard to the impact the Bill will have on provident and pension funds and medical aids. To this COSATU EXCO has instituted a process to make its recommendations and proposals.
6.1 Our founding congress in 1985 declared that "International Solidarity is the lifeblood of trade unionism, particularly in the era of multinational companies". This assertion guided our federation over the years in carrying out our international activities.
6.2 COSATU does not operate in a vacuum. In this age of globalisation, there is a need for solidarity among workers internationally. COSATU has, over the years, established extensive contacts with trade union organisations at both bilateral and multilateral levels. The international community supported our struggle to defeat apartheid and replace it with a non-racial, non-sexist democracy as well as in building a strong trade union movement. This support came from the OECD countries, and trade union organisations in the global South rendered their support through the international trade union co-ordinating bodies.
6.3 The national centres and or industrial unions in the Dutch-Nordic countries, Canada, Australia, Italy, Britain, France, USA etc, became our dependable allies. In some cases, the national centres had the strong backing of their governments. We developed joint co-operation programmes with most of these national centres, making our relations even more sound.
6.4 COSATU became concerned about the development of relations with Northern-based trade union organisations only as this was a misrepresentation of our policy of an all-inclusive solidarity. It became imperative for our organisation to forge links with unions in the developing world.
6.5 Our first step was to play a pivotal role in the sub-region so as to help build strong unions as a way of building a strong bargaining power for unions in SATUCC. Our participation in SATUCC is viewed by many as making an impact on assisting to build strong unions. We are active participants in OATUU. We have various arrangements with our co-operating partners to embark on joint projects aimed at building a viable trade union movement in Southern Africa and the continent. According to this arrangement, our organisation is expected to provide personnel resources.
6.6 Our intention is to work through the regional and continental structures to influence the agenda of the international trade union movement, to ensure that the interests of African workers are not pushed to the back burner. We believe that, through these structures, we will be able to operationalise the idea of South-South trade union internationalism by linking with similar structures in Asia and Latin America.
6.7 The present political situation in Swaziland is characterised by a complete lack of democracy. The flagrant violation of democratic practices by the Swaziland government originated from the 1963 decree promulgated by King Sobhuza and his Imbokodvo Party. The decree effectively outlawed any political opposition, banned the multi-party system in Swaziland and by extension, freedom of association and freedom of speech. Swaziland is the only country in Southern Africa that has no climate conducive to free political activity.
6.8 The non-existence of overt political parties in Swaziland obligated the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU) to take on a political responsibility. Through the SFTU, workers and other people of Swaziland could openly and audibly voice their political resentment of the Tinkhundla system of governance. As a result, the SFTU leadership became RECipients of the callous repression of the government.
6.9 Through the SFTU, the workers and the people of Swaziland formulated 27 demands which were later forwarded to the Swaziland government for delivery. This was done on 16 October 1993. The 27 demands are wide-ranging in scope and deal with the labour market, gender discrimination, social security, education, economics and politics. The SFTU is faced with the mammoth task of translating these demands into a comprehensive policy programme that can be used to mobilise the workers and people of Swaziland behind the need for change.
6.10 The 21st demand expresses the need to involve workers in the country’s constitutional review process. However, instead of organisations sending people to participate in the constitution review commission on a mandated basis, the King hand-picked people on an individual basis. This meant that the constitution review commission was unrepresentative and illegitimate and therefore unlikely to offer any meaningful resolution to the beleaguered nation.
6.11 The forces for change in Swaziland are of the view that the constitution review commission should be structured in a proper way with clear terms of reference. Its mandate should be broadened to involve the creation of a national convention in which all the role-playing organisations will participate. The suggested national convention would negotiate issues related to the establishment of an interim government or transitional authority. It is envisioned that this process would lead to the establishment of a constituent assembly.
6.12 On the labour market front, the Swaziland government is characteristically moving in a verkrampte direction. It enacted labour legislation designed to roll back the gains the SFTU has made over the years. The law denies basic freedoms such as the right to assembly and the right to strike. For example, a mere suggestion to embark on a strike action is a punishable offence and can result in a charge for inciting workers in terms of section 75 of the Act. A person found guilty of this offence is liable for a fine of up to E5 000 or five years imprisonment or both. On release or payment of the fine, the person would not be eligible for trade union election for a period of five years thereafter.
6.13 In an attempt to quell the emerging militancy of the SFTU, the government has used brute repression and naked harassment of trade union leaders.
6.14 COSATUEXCO and CEC took the following decisions and action in support of the SFTU:
6.15 Since June 1993, after the failed attempt to establish a civilian form of government by electing Abiola as the President of Nigeria, Nigeria has been floundering in a political morass. The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), the country’s most representative trade union co-ordinating body, was dissolved and some of its leaders thrown in jail on the pretext of maladministration, fraud and corruption. The fervent political opponents of General Sani Abacha were executed on trumped up charges and others were mysteriously killed.
6.16 The behaviour of the Nigerian military regime has meant it has acquired the status of international pariah. The South African government has so far played an important role in ensuring that the Nigerian problem is high on the agenda of multi-lateral conferences.
6.17 At the 1996 International Labour Conference, the representatives of the Nigerian government promised that the NLC would be re-launched by the end of August 1996. However, the Decree 26 was promulgated allowing government to intervene in trade union issues. The Minister could de-register a union without any explanation. Any resistance against Decree 26 is punishable by five years’ imprisonment.
6.18 Decrees 26 and 4 make it unlawful for full-time trade unionists to stand for leadership elections of the NLC. According to these two decrees, trade union officials are not even allowed to participate in the policy formulation of their unions.
6.19 Jailed trade unionists, Frank Kokori and Milton Dabibi, have still not been released. Trade unionists continue to be subjected to untold harassment. The congresses of various industrial unions, preceding the anticipated re-launch of the NLC, have been interfered with. The Ministry of Labour in some instances used money to ensure the election of officials who were compliant with the government position. This will definitely have a negative impact on the committee of 29 unions which is playing a co-ordinating role in the preparation for the NLC’s re-launch. This means there is a possibility of retaining leadership that will be in bed with the Nigerian government.
6.20 In response to this, the trade unionists issued statements expressing their displeasure at the government’s interference and made representations to the government. As in any repressive situation, the level of militancy and combativeness is rising rapidly. The membership of various industrial unions is increasing.
6.21 As part of the transitional programme, municipal elections were held on March 15. However, the candidates and the parties which participated in the elections had to be approved of by the government and only those deemed acceptable to the government were allowed to contest the elections.
6.22 There is a publicity campaign designed to popularise the idea of transforming General Sani Abacha into a civilian contender for the Presidency of Nigeria. Five political parties allowed to contest the elections, as well as the National Electoral Commission, approve of this idea. Of political interest is the newly developed close relationship between General Sani Abacha, President Rawlins of Ghana and President Jammen of Gambia. Both Ghana and Gambia underwent a similar transformation from military to civilian rule.
6.23 Our 5th National Congress issued a declaration on the situation in Nigeria which, among other things, called for an international campaign of sanctions against the military dictatorship, including a boycott of all Nigerian oil. A call for the expulsion of the Nigerian government from all international bodies, the severing of all relations with the Nigerian government, including the total withdrawal of all economic trade and other relations with our country.
6.24 Acting on the mandate of the 5th National Congress, COSATU participated in founding the South Africa Nigeria Democratic Support Group (SANDSG). The group has organised demonstrations as well as conferences involving activists from inside Nigeria.
6.25 The COSATUEXCO decided on a bilateral consultation with the representatives of the Nigerian labour movement. The following was agreed upon:
6.26 At the 83rd, 84th, 85th sessions of the International Labour Conference, our federation helped ensure that the Nigerian government was a recipient of a Special Paragraph. This constitutes the worst form of condemnation by the International Labour Organisation.
Relations with the Dutch-Nordic National Trade Union Centres
6.27 The advent of a democratic South Africa and COSATU`s decision to be self-reliant when it comes to funding the core programme of the federation necessitated the redefinition of our relationship with our Dutch-Nordic co-operating partners.
6.28 The national centres from the Dutch-Nordic countries have over the years become our dependable allies. The principles that guide and inform our relationship includes mutuality, reciprocity and equality. Taking into account the current situation, in a visit by the President, General Secretary and Treasurer of COSATU, we agreed to strengthen our relationship as well as have joint sharing of resources and expertise. Aspects of this programme may include:
6.29 It would also be valuable to share techniques of skillfully managing co-operative partnerships or Alliances with political parties, and how to manage non-antagonistic contradictions inherent in such relationships. Ways and means of influencing the political parties in government to enact legislation that is biased in favour of the working people and the upliftment of society in addition to classical legislative lobbying, should be developed.
6.30 Our partners demonstrated willingness to organise short courses on macro-economics, labour market and gender issues for COSATU leaders and officials to enable them to professionally cope with the challenges thrown up by the changed political situation.
6.31 It was agreed that COSATU could assist by providing resource personnel for co-operating partners which have projects with unions in Southern Africa.
6.32 It was further agreed that the Dutch-Nordic multilateral structure would continue to exist in its current form. The existence of such a structure was not seen as mutual exclusive with bilateral relations between COSATU and individual national centres.
Solidarity with Cuba
6.33 Since March 1996 there have been plans to organise a brainstorming bilateral between COSATU and the CTC of Cuba. This bilateral is now scheduled to take place in March 1988. COSATU affiliates are requested to assist in the financial costs to bring Cubans to South Africa, as well as their accommodation and meals.
6.34 The brainstorming session will focus on the following issues:-
6.35 Relations between COSATU and CTC have continued to strengthen. COSATU affiliates supported the congress of the CTC in May 1996, and attended the subsequent conference on globalisation. A follow-up conference against globalisation and neo-liberalism was held in August 1997. This conference too was well supported by COSATU.
Relations with the AFL-CIO
6.36 Given the current international political conjuncture, the rebirth of the American Trade Union movement as well as the compelling need to forge unity of the working people across the globe, it became necessary for COSATU and the AFL-CIO to normalise relations.
6.37 The meeting focussed on economic and political developments in the two respective countries and their impact on labour.
6.38 To rekindle the AFL-CIO`s fighting spirit, the new leadership injecting a lot of resources into organising and membership recruitment and organising campaigns in various sectors
6.39 It was felt that COSATU could draw on the AFL-CIO’s invaluable experience in the area of legislative lobbying and advocacy, including possible training.
6.40 The two national centres agreed to assess the implications for workers of the bi-national commission, co-headed by Thabo Mbeki and Al Gore.
6.41 In addition to fortifying the bilateral relationship between the AFL-CIO and COSATU, an urgent need to replicate this at an affiliate level was emphasised. This would help monitor the behavior of the American multinationals investing in South Africa, particularly in ensuring that they embark on upward harmonisation of labour standards.
Relations with Italian trade union centres
6.42 The three centres in Italy, CISL, CGIL and UIL, have been funding the Metric project as well as the CDC through their trade union institutes ISCOS, Progetto Sud and Progetto Sviluppo. Even though there have been problems in getting funds, they have tried to use their own resources to keep the projects going. COSATU has held several seminars with the CGIL, the last one of which was held last year. The two federations agreed to continue with bilateral relations as we share a lot in common, including political outlook.
Southern Africa Trade Union Co-ordinating Council (SATUCC)
6.43 The International Policy Conference in April 1995 resolved that "The lack of effective trade unionism in much of Africa, and particularly Southern Africa, is a direct threat to trade unionism and jobs in South Africa."
6.44 Almost all our affiliates have prioritised the Southern African region as an area of primary focus. In addition to establishing bilateral links with sister unions in Southern Africa, COSATU affiliates play a co-ordinating role in Southern Africa for the various International Trade Secretariats (ITS).
6.45 Our membership of SATUCC has enabled our federation to have extensive links with other national centres affiliated to SATUCC. We have fought alongside these national centres for the establishment of functional democracy in the countries bordering on South Africa.
6.46 The SATUCC 5th delegates congress decided to forge bilateral relations with other regional structures like the European Trade Union Council (ETUC). We will encourage SATUCC to lobby the ETUC to accept the South African government’s negotiating position in the EU-SA negotiations for a free trade agreement.
6.47As a gesture of commitment and readiness to remedy organisational problems experienced by SATUCC, COSATU hosted the SATUCC 5th delegates congress. The congress was held in Johannesburg in 1995. Our federation further gave a house in Gaborone, inherited from the now defunct South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU), to SATUCC to use as an operational office. COSATU also participated in the SATUCC missions to resolve the problems in Swaziland.
6.48 The former Southern African Labour Commission was collapsed into Southern African Development Community (SADC) as an Employment and Labour Sector (ELS). The responsibility of co-ordinating this sector was bestowed on Zambia. The third meeting of this sector was hosted by South Africa from 5-10 May 1997.
6.49 The ELS annual meeting recommended that two technical committees be created, on:
6.50 The overall objectives of the technical committees is to give advice to the ELS on matters related to their areas of expertise. The committees’ meetings will piggy back on the annual ELS meetings.
6.51 The ministers and social partners agreed that national tripartite consultations on the draft Social Charter be held. These consultations would be followed up within six months by a regional tripartite workshop to finalise the draft for submission to the ELS meeting in 1998 in Mauritius.
Organisation of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU)
6.52 When our 4th national congress in 1991 decided to affiliate to OATUU, we knew the responsibility of doing so. We knew that we were to become one of OATUU’s key affiliates, expected to provide both human and material resources to this continental organisation.
6.53 For some time now our federation has been concerned about the conflictual co-existence between OATUU and the ICFTU-AFRO. In effect this contributes to the disunity of the African trade union movement and weakens its capacity to deal with the attack visited on it by the corporate agenda. COSATU has long offered to broker peace and co-operative arrangements between the two organisations, but no one has taken up this offer.
6.54 Our considered view is that OATUU should come up with a programme of action that is closer to the needs of her constituent organisations and that will be able to effectuate the objectives of continental solidarity. We have suggested to the OATUU Secretariat that the regional organisations of OATUU need to be functionally revamped. The Presidency and the Secretariat of the regional organisations, as well as the OATUU leadership, could then meet on a periodical basis to compare notes.
6.55 Our participation in the OATUU is lethargic due to non-existence of programmes that are consistent with ours. We only participate in structural meetings.
Indian Ocean Regional Trade Union Conference
6.56 Since 1989, COSATU has been participating in the Indian Ocean Regional Trade Union Conference, which is held biannually. This structure brings together trade union organisations from Asia, Australia and South Africa, to develop solidarity among trade unions in the Indian Ocean region.
6.57 At a regional co-ordinating committee meeting in Johannesburg on 2 August 1996, the following principles for participation were accepted:
6.58 Consistent with the resolution adopted by the International Policy Conference regarding unity of the international trade union movement, broad consultations were held with all the three international trade union co-ordinating bodies — the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), the World Confederation of Labour (WCL), and the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) — as well as key unaffiliated centres. These consultations were designed to promote and encourage the creation of maximum unity in the ranks of the international trade union movement by way of establishing one international trade union coordinating structure.
6.59 The CGT of France and COSATU initiated roundtable discussions on global unionism and international trade union solidarity. The participants in the initiative were unaffiliated national centres with strong international links. The national centres which took part in the consultative meeting included ETUF of Egypt, COSATU, CGT of France, CITU of India CGTP-N of Portugal and NUNW of Namibia.
6.60 Amongst other things, the consultative meeting made an assessment of both the strengths and weaknesses of the international trade union movement, the effectuation of structural co-operation among the international trade union centres and the fashioning of a countervailing response to globalisation and the neo-liberal attack on the working people and their organisations.
6.61 The meeting agreed that there was adequate basis for an all-inclusive international trade union centre based on unity. It also concluded that ways and means of making countries enforce and sensitively respect fundamental human and trade union rights should be found. The meeting felt that workers organisation should fiercely defend the ILO, whose role is greatly undermined by the neo-liberal agenda. In addition, the workers’ organisations should be urged to fight for the reinforcement of the ILO mandate and democratisation of its structures.
6.62 The participants in the initiative committed themselves to lobbying the international trade union movement to act in support of the issues discussed. The group reiterated that the initiative is not designed to establish a fourth international centre.
6.63 The reasons that influenced COSATU`s non-alignment are as follows :
6.64 With the changed political landscape in South Africa and the resultant active involvement of our country in international politics, it became necessary for our organisation to refresh its tactics and renew its strategy.
6.65 Our fifth national congress resolved to hold an international policy conference in April 1995 to develop a comprehensive policy on international relations. At the core of the conference agenda was our affiliation to an international trade union co-ordinating body. The international policy conference resolved:
6.66 COSATU should immediately start:
6.67 The resolution of the International Policy Conference was a departure away from non-alignment towards an international affiliation conditional on wide-ranging consultations with international trade union organisations and unaffiliated national centres. The whole aim of the consultations was to explore the feasibility of creating an all-inclusive international trade union centre which would serve the deepest interests of the working people.
6.68 The CGIL of Italy, the CUT of Brazil, the CCOO of Spain, and recently the KCTU of South Korea are affiliate of the ICFTU. These trade union organisations are socialist in outlook or share the same political views as COSATU.
6.69 For all its weaknesses and deficiencies, the ICFTU is championing the fight for the defence of human and trade union rights so much so that it has over the years incurred the wrath of governments notorious for violation of such rights..
6.70 The April 1997 COSATU CEC decided by an overwhelming majority to affiliate to the ICFTU. The CEC enjoined on the Secretariat to produce a programme of participation in the ICFTU.
6.71 This decision was arrived at after a series of consultation with all three existing international trade union centres, the International Confederation of Free Unions (ICFTU), the World Confederation of Labour (WCL) and the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU). We also consulted widely with unaffiliated national centres at a bilateral level or via the Cairo Roundtable Consultative Forum (see below). Affiliates also consulted with ITFs, ITSs, TUIs as well as unaffiliated sister unions. Our view is that the three international trade union centres are not ready to unite at this stage. They would prefer cooperative unity to structural unity to allow for their continued separate identities.
International Labour Organisation
6.72 Since the forced departure of the South African government from the ILO on March 11 in 1964, this organisation had been actively involved in the elimination of apartheid in labour matters and the eradication of apartheid in general. The ILO based itself on the United Nation’s General Assembly’s condemnation of the apartheid system as a crime against humanity. The apartheid system was considered to be wholly incompatible with the aims and principles of the ILO’s Declaration of Philadelphia.
6.73 The ILO governing body established a Committee on Action against Apartheid in 1988. Its brief was to monitor action against apartheid. The liberation movements like the ANC and PAC had a consultative status, as well as COSATU and NACTU.
6.74 The Committee on Action against Apartheid, at the 80th session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) held in Geneva in 1993, welcomed the resumption of the multi-party negotiations that would culminate in the establishment of a non-racial democracy in South Africa.
6.75 The 80th session of the ILC decided that, in the period prior to the establishment of the Constituent Assembly, the declaration concerning action against apartheid should be maintained. The conference, however, authorised the governing body to review the application and implementation of the declaration conditional on the irreversible progress regarding the establishment of a new South Africa. If the required progress was achieved, the governing body could recommend to the 81st session of the ILC that declaration on action against apartheid and the committee be annulled.
6.76 The conference recommended to the governing body to make available the necessary financial means to implement a plan of action which could encompass, inter alia, the following :
The congress delegates will recall that the recommendations of the ILO fact finding and conciliation commission formed the basis for a sound legislative framework for industrial relations in South Africa. The advances represented by the new Labour Relations Act (LRA) attests to the claim. The ILO donated generously to the South African trade union movement to enable it to conduct education related to the new LRA.
6.78 Our country, as a relatively advanced industrial country on the continent, is involved in various committees of the ILO, including membership of the ILO governing body. With regards to the trade union movement, the late Dorothy Mokgalo, was a member of the ILO Governing Body. Our comrades contributed immensely to the formulation of the Convention of Health and Safety in the mines and the one on Homework. We played an important role in ensuring that Nigeria is arecipient of the ILO special paragraph.
CTUC – CLC – COSATU Project
6.79 The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) through the Commonwealth Trade Union Council (CTUC) funds the main trade union organisations of Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and the Gambia to augment their democratic trade union education programmes. Resource people are drawn from the CTUC and COSATU. Regional education activities are held in Ghana hosted by the Ghana TUC while local activities are held in each of the three countries. Report on evaluation of the progress made will be submitted to the next CHOGM meeting, in October 1997.
6.80 As COSATU we participated in the special West Africa regional workshop held in a Accra, Ghana in January 1996. The workshop identified the following areas:6.81 COSATU helped to develop the programme outlined above but could not effectively participate in its implementation due to organisational commitments on the home front.