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National Congress  |  Resolutions

4. INTERNATIONAL POLICY RESOLUTIONS


4.1 International Affairs

4.2 Africa and Southern Africa

4.3 International Affiliation

4.4 Globalisation and IMF

4.5 September Commission Report


4.1 International Affairs

 

1. SAMWU

 

Noting that:

  1. Internationalism and working class solidarity are some of the founding principles of COSATU.
  2.  

  3. The new world order has seen a concerted attempt by capitalists to safeguard their interests and to destroy any thought of socialism.
  4.  

  5. This strategy included:
    1. Financial de-regulation which promotes less productive investment and easier opportunities for moving money about.
    2. Privatisation
    3. Workplace Restructuring
    4. Attacks on workers and their unions
    5. Attacks on wages and other conditions of employment.
  6.  

  7. The international work of COSATU and its affiliates have tended to be more ceremonial in nature and content.
  8.  

  9. The CEC, as mandated, has decided that COSATU should affiliate to the ICFTU.
  10.  

  11. COSATU is part of the Indian Ocean Region Conference.

Believing that:

  1. Only an international strategy will be successful in our fight against neo-liberal globalisation.
  2.  

  3. This strategy should include developing clear positions on:
    1. Dealing with multi-national companies
    2. Social Clauses
    3. Alliances with other social movements
    4. Workplace restructuring
  4.  

  5. In the same way that we received support internationally, COSATU should be committed to supporting working class struggles in other parts of the world.

Resolves that:

  1. COSATU international work be informed by, amongst others, the following principles and objectives:
    • Building worker to worker contact

       

    • Whilst acknowledging affiliation to the ICFTU, strive to build maximum unity amongst workers and in this regard continue to pursue contact with non-ICFTU centres which are not in conflict with our broad objectives.

       

    • Promote solidarity action

       

    • Exchange information and share resources.

       

    • Promote democratic, worker controlled trade unions.

       

    • Build south-south relations with special focus on the Southern African Sub-Region and the Indian Ocean Region Conference.

       

    • Promote unity in a single country

       

    • Actively build campaigns such as the anti-privatisation campaign

       

    • Promote the rights of women.

       

  2.  

  3. COSATU host the next Indian Ocean Region Conference and that it promotes the establishment of a Solidarity Fund, to which all participating centres would make contributions, as a means to funding the next Conference and thereby reducing the influence which major donors have on the proceedings.
  4.  

  5. Give careful consideration to the establishment of a broader Solidarity Fund to be used to support the struggles of workers in other countries.

 

2. PPWAWU

Noting that:

  1. The forces of globalisation are much stronger than unions at the international level. Union are being undermined by new global financial powers and industrial restructuring.
  2.  

  3. Labour movement international is not speaking with one voice while the global capital is speaking with one voice.
  4.  

  5. Gains won over decades by trade union movement world over is being eroded by austerity-oriented policies pursued by the Neo-liberal agenda.

Therefore resolve that:

  1. Re-affirm our position on Social Clause to be included on all trade and investments agreements.
  2.  

  3. Unions at the international level to combine their capacity in order to be able to counter act the tyranny of the globalisation.
  4.  

  5. This congress to endorse the CEC recommendation to affiliate to ICFTU.
  6.  

  7. COSATU affiliates to engage their respective ITS`s in transforming ICFTU.
  8.  

  9. COSATU to work closely with other progressive forces within ICFTU.
  10.  

  11. COSATU to strive for one progressive international federation.



4.2 Africa and Southern Africa

 

1. TGWU

Noting that:

  1. Our continent has undergone major upheavals in the recent period, particularly in the Great Lakes region and in West Africa.
  2.  

  3. That the movement towards democracy in Africa is gaining momentum.
  4.  

  5. That significant threats to democracy remain from reactionary forces within Africa as well as from international forces.
  6.  

  7. That democratisation is taking place in a context of increasing economic pressure brought about by the programmes and policies imposed by the developed world and international finance capital.

Believing that:

  1. Democracy in Africa can only be preserved if it delivered to the needs of its people.
  2.  

  3. Structural Adjustment and other economic programmes imposed by the IMF, World Bank and Western nations remain the single greatest threat to African democracy as they unleash a massive attack on the living standards of the people.
  4.  

  5. The greatest guarantee for genuine democracy and a successful resistance to the imperialist economic agenda in a united, well organised and worker-controlled trade union movement with a socialist perspective.

Therefore resolves that:

COSATU should actively and concretely support the development of independent worker-controlled trade unions in Africa by:

  1. Working with other progressive African trade union federations to
  2.  

  3. build and strengthening OATUU and SATUCC on progressive working class programme.
  4.  

  5. Releasing resources and expertise to support and work with trade unions on the continent with the objective of sharing our strength and to empower our African comrades to challenge and contribute towards genuine development and transformation.
  6.  

  7. Organising exchange programme for African shop stewards and Union officials.
  8.  

  9. Seeking out and organising around common issues in order to build joint programmes of action particularly against anti-working class international programmes and organisations and multinational companies.

 

2. PPWAWU

Noting that:

  1. The previous South African Regime destabilised the Southern African countries.
  2.  

  3. With a new democratic elected government, the companies in South Africa are openly investing in the Southern African countries.
  4.  

  5. At the same the Transnational Companies are moving their investment out of South Africa to Southern African Countries for cheap labour.
  6.  

  7. The trade unions in the Southern Africa are weak or none existence.
  8.  

  9. The trade unions/federation in South Africa have not put concerted weight to strengthen SATUCC.

Believing that:

  1. The RDP is extended to the development of the Southern African countries.
  2.  

  3. The Department of Trade and Industry is committed to the economic development of the Southern African Countries.
  4.  

  5. SATUCC is the only formation/vehicle that can assist bringing about the necessary changes and develop of workers in the region.

Therefore resolve that:

  1. Re-affirm our position - Cosatu/Labour to participate in the SADC policy formulation via SATUCC.
  2.  

  3. Re-affirm our position that strong union to union contact to be established and strengthened.
  4.  

  5. Unions and federations to strive towards adoption of Social Clause by the government and companies.
  6.  

  7. COSATU to lead the debates towards the tripartite structure(government, business and Labour) formulation/establishment.

Africa

Noting that:

  1. There is a fragmentation of co-ordination of labour federations in Africa (ICFTU Afro structure and OATUU)
  2.  

  3. The trade union movement in the continent is weak.
  4.  

  5. The Transnational Companies are using South Africa as their launching pad to exploit the cheap labour in the region.

Therefore resolve that:

  1. COSATU to strive for merging both ICFTU African structure and OATUU.
  2.  

  3. COSATU affiliates to build links and assist in building the labour movement in the region. In addition COSATU affiliates to develop a programme of twinning individual affiliate secretariat.
  4.  

  5. COSATU affiliates to develop a worker to worker contact programme within the individual transnational companies in order to develop programme of action to fight exploitation perpetuated by TNC`s.

 

3. CWIU

Noting that:

  1. The South African Trade Union Movement has moved from being a recipient of international trade union solidarity to a more reciprocal and dynamic interaction.
  2.  

  3. The interests of South African Workers are integrally linked to those of workers in the region and entire continent.
  4.  

  5. That weak unions in the neighbouring states, will ultimately undermine workers battles and struggles for better labour standards, increased wages and organisational rights. 5
  6.  

  7. Regional ties can also help strengthen workers bargaining power.
  8.  

  9. The movement of capital, goods, services, information and highly skilled workers are increasingly undeterred by national borders.

Believing:

  1. That therefore the unity of workers in the region and Africa become more important as more and more companies, both South African and Internationals, have operations in various countries in the region and Africa.

Resolves:

  1. Affiliates to effectively strengthen and assist the Southern African and unions in Africa in becoming strong and militant.
  2.  

  3. COSATU to actively engage the SATUCC and OATUU and assist them in becoming strong and militant.
  4.  

  5. OATUU and COSATU to draw up a common programmatic action in resisting neo-liberal policies of globalisation and the IMF, World Bank structural adjustment programme.



4.3 International Affiliation

 

1. SARHWU

  1. The decision taken by our CEC to affiliate to the ICFTU was a progressive step
  2.  

  3. The international link will strengthen the bilateral relations that we have already established.
  4.  

  5. Our link should strive for more unity with other international bodies i.e. WFTU, WCL, etc. This unity can be realised if we can attempt to forge common programmes based on common issues.
  6.  

  7. We should use our presence toward focusing on Africa, so-called Third World Countries the newly industrialised countries, to raise issues of poverty lack of trade union organisation - freedom of collective bargaining.

 

2. CWIU

Noting:

  1. There are still divisions within the international trade union movement - ICFTU, WFTU, WCL.
  2.  

  3. The ICFTU was founded on an anti-Communist ticket with the advent of the cold war.
  4.  

  5. The trade union centres in the north (AFL-CIO) influential in ICFTU receive millions of dollars from big American companies and the US government for its anti-Communist rhetoric and propaganda.
  6.  

  7. ICFTU considers ideological inclination when considering whether to accept an affiliation.
  8.  

  9. ICFTU aims to improve conditions for workers within the capitalist system. This is aimed at harmonising the class contradictions inherent in society and the struggle between labour and capital.

Resolve:

  1. To actively campaign for the realignment of the international democratic forces within the trade union movement.
  2.  

  3. To strengthen the South - South links and develop them into a plant form to agitate for a new internationalism.
  4.  

  5. COSATU establish more concrete ties with unions in such countries and develop a network of links with major unions which have a militant and democratic approach to economic and political issues which is similar to our own.
  6.  

  7. COSATU should affiliate to ICFTU.



4.4 Globalisation and IMF

 

1. SACTWU

Noting :

  1. The increase of economic activity across national borders in recent years
  2.  

  3. Major cuts in levels of tariff protection for local industries
  4.  

  5. The lifting of exchange controls on capital
  6.  

  7. The increasing power of multinational institutions such as the World Trade Organisation.
  8.  

  9. The new, ideological attack on worker rights and labour standards in the name of the international competitiveness, by investors, many governments and professionals.
  10.  

  11. The success this strategy has had in rolling back gains workers have made in highly unionised societies and in preventing the growth of strong trade unionism in other societies.
  12.  

  13. The labour movement has fought each of the symptoms of this new global onslaught separately, and not always very successfully, in countries such as South Africa, Brazil, Korea, France, Ghana and the United States.

Believing :

  1. That the trade union movement is more vital and necessary now, as the voice of those displaced by economic adjustments and the brutal policies followed by the international business community.
  2.  

  3. That success under these new conditions require a serious review of current separate, and uncoordinated struggles, and requires too that we need to develop new tactics, and adjust its strategies in this new period, to more effectively promote the cause of solidarity in economic and social policy, in international work, and in the daily struggles of affiliates.

Resolves :

  1. To campaign for an international day of action in all countries, (on 1st September) every year, as the means to unite the separately fought struggles over:
    1. Job security

       

    2. Deregulation of the labour markets

       

    3. Neo-liberal macro-economic policy

       

    4. Privatisation of basic services

       

    5. Improvement in basic conditions of employment

       

    6. Reductions in social spending and social welfare

       

  2.  

  3. To set aside at least 5% of the federation’s annual income to build trade unionism in Southern Africa and other parts of the developing world, and that these programs be based on organising the unorganised, strengthening trade union campaigning capacity, and developing effective structures and practices of solidarity.
  4.  

  5. To allocate the organisational and human resources to make such a program a success.
  6.  

  7. To task the CEC to receive reports regularly on the progress made in this campaign, with a target of organising a million workers through these programs in the next three years.

 

2. FAWU

Noting that :

     

  1. Globalisation is a phenomenon that advocates for free trade regime in the world and ignores the acute inequalities between the countries of the world, and as such rich countries of the North benefit to the detriment of poor countries of the South.

     

     

  2. That World Trade Organisation (WTO) trade arrangements and rules thereof reduce the power of nation / states with regard to shaping their own economic and industrial policies. The above normally leads to poor countries being unable to protect their domestic industries, hence they are bound to go down the drain as more foreign products from rich countries are economically dumped to these poor countries.

     

     

  3. Gear is a macro-economic strategy that fundamentally departs from the basic foundation (i.e. state intervention) of the RDP and in fact, it is an attempt to orientated South Africa towards globalisation in its basic principles for instance the reduction of debt less social spending (fiscal discipline), the relaxation of exchange control and lowering of company tax (monetary policy), etc.

     

     

  4. WTO (World Trade Organisation) provisions and rules significantly reduces the power of countries to shape and develop their own economic and industrial policies, and South Africa has not yet developed industrial and trade policies.

     

Believing that :

     

  1. Globalisation is not a natural phenomenon but a man-made process that essentially is in the (best) interests of multi-national companies, usually based in rich north countries as represented by the likes of G7 countries.

     

     

  2. Globalisation is equivalent to ‘re-colonising’ the poor and developing countries and as such globalisation is nothing but an expression and promotion of imperialism.

     

     

  3. That Gear departs away from the RDP, which is an electoral mandate of the ANC. That the ANC is essentially a working class bias and anti-imperialist movement - GEAR therefore fits exactly into the agenda of globalisation.

     

     

  4. That an effective industrial policy will be necessary for economic growth and development and be linked to Trade policy.

     

Therefore resolves:

     

  1. To propose on COSATU agenda the campaign that will secure that while South Africa observes the WTO rules and provisions, that at the same time it calls for review of those that remain unfair and unjustified.

     

     

  2. That COSATU will wage a campaign to ensure that the government continues to push for the inclusion of the social clause (i.e. a clause compelling member countries to observe Labour Rights and Human Rights contained in ILO and UNO charters and other polices in WTO agreement.

     

     

  3. That COSATU be at the centre-stage of creating international solidarity movements and networks to challenge this phenomenon of Globalisation.

     

     

  4. To reject Gear in its entirety because private sector export -led role cannot achieve meaningful growth and development.

     

     

  5. To develop a policy alternative that will be RDP principles and that is orientated to demand side economics be developed as part of such macro-economic strategy and contain as its central theme the state intervention to lead economic growth and development.

     

     

  6. That the necessary supply side measure be effectively co-ordinated by government through a creation of inter-ministerial committee involving relevant ministries and various fraternities.

     

     

  7. Lastly to counter free market system and its globalisation by developing an alternative humanistic project consistent with a socialist perspective.

     

 

3. NUMSA

An Organising Strategy on Globalisation

Noting

  1. The increase in economic activity across national borders in recent years, with major cuts in levels of tariff protection for local industries; the lifting of exchange controls on capital and the increasing power of multinational institutions such as the World Trade Organisation.
  2.  

  3. The new, ideological attack on worker rights and labour standards in the name of international competitiveness, by investors, many governments and professionals.
  4.  

  5. The success this strategy has had in rolling back gains workers have made in highly unionised societies, and in preventing the growth of strong trade unionism in other societies.
  6.  

  7. The labour movement has fought each of the symptoms of this new global onslaught separately, and not always very successfully, in countries such as South Africa, Brazil, Korea, France, Ghana and the United States.

Believing:

  1. That the trade union movement is more vital and necessary now, as the voice of those displaced by economic adjustments and the brutal policies followed by the international business community.
  2.  

  3. That success under these new conditions require a serious review of current separate, and un-co-ordinated struggles, and requires too that we need to develop new tactics, and adjust its strategies in this new period, to more effectively promote the cause of solidarity, in economic and social policy, in international work, and in the daily struggles of affiliates.

Resolves:

  1. To campaign for an international day of action in all countries, (on 1 September) every year, as the means to unite the separately fought struggles over:
    1. Job security

       

    2. Deregulation of the labour markets

       

    3. Neo-liberal macro-economic policy

       

    4. Privatisation of basic services

       

    5. Improvements in basic conditions of employment

       

    6. Reductions in social spending and social welfare

       

  2.  

  3. To set aside at least 5% of the federation’s annual income to build trade unionism in Southern Africa and other parts of the developing world, and that these programs be based on organising the unorganised, strengthening trade union campaigning capacity, and developing effective structures and practices of solidarity
  4.  

  5. To allocate the organisational and human resources to make such a program a success
  6.  

  7. To task the CEC to receive reports regularly on the progress made in this campaign, with a target of organising a million workers through these programs in the next three years.

 

4. PPWAWU

Noting that:

  1. The forces of globalisation are much stronger than unions at the international level. Unions are being undermined by new global financial powers and industrial restructuring.
  2.  

  3. Labour movement internationally is not speaking with one voice while the global capital is speaking with one voice.
  4.  

  5. Gains won over decades by trade union movement world over are being eroded by austerity-oriented policies pursued by the Neo-liberal agenda.

Therefore resolves:

  1. Re-affirm our position on Social Clause to be included on all trade and investments agreements.
  2.  

  3. Unions at the international level to combine their capacity in order to be able to counter act the tyranny of the globalisation.
  4.  

  5. This congress to endorse the CEC recommendation to affiliate to ICFTU.
  6.  

  7. COSATU affiliates to engage their respective ITS`s in transforming ICFTU.
  8.  

  9. COSATU to work closely with other progressive forces within ICFTU.
  10.  

  11. COSATU to strive for one progressive international federation.

 

5. CWIU

Noting:

  1. The collapse and demise of the world socialist system and the end of the cold war, imperialism has increased its control over the world economy.
  2.  

  3. Capitalism is becoming more global in its operations. The movement of the bosses, capital, technology and products across borders is increasing.
  4.  

  5. The bosses are increasingly going to those countries where no unions are allowed and wage / working conditions are bad.
  6.  

  7. Competition for markets and profits between the major capitalist power has caused them to build wider regional bases. This has resulted in the USA, Canada, Mexico block, the Pacific rim block, the European unions and the Asian tigers.
  8.  

  9. Workers internationally are facing similar attack from bosses, retrenchments, low wages, insecure temporary jobs.

Believing:

  1. Imperialism is feeling more politically confident. It sees itself as the winner of cold war.
  2.  

  3. Although capital is confident, it is also facing a big crises. From the early 1970’s, oil prices increases, unproductive investments, over production of goods and growing international jobs, have led to inflation and declining profits.

Resolves:

  1. To respond effectively to this offensive international centres need to develop joint strategies.
  2.  

  3. To further deepen the crises of imperialism with the building of a working class economy throughout the world.
  4.  

  5. That in the face of this offensive workers employed in the same company in different countries need to build links of communication and solidarity.

 

6. NUMSA

Capital mobility

  1. In response to the effects of capital mobility, the following is proposed:
  2.  

  3. Build and strengthen the labour movement in Southern Africa
  4.  

  5. Demand the representation of the federation in all multi-lateral trade negotiations.
  6.  

  7. Imposition of strict regulations on labour rights abusing countries.

 

7. CWIU

  1. That the world economy continues to be in the hands of a few who own the entire wealth of the world
  2.  

  3. That the global character of capitalism has intensified and acquired new features
  4.  

  5. That markets heart - lands of capitalism have been saturated
  6.  

  7. That a neo - liberal agenda of globalisation of capitalism stand to benefit transnational corporations and:
    • it campaigns against the active participation of the state in the economy

       

    • it campaigns for deregulation, privatisation and cutting of public sector spending

       

    • it targets organised labour, arguing for flexibility in the labour market

       

    • it campaigns for EPZs which in no way can benefit the poor

       

    • it seeks to push our economies into export centred strategy, to an extent of having our economy dependent on the good will of the most powerful economic forces

       

  8.  

  9. That implementation of the neo - liberal agenda leads to increased impoverishment
  10.  

  11. That both the World Bank and IMF are controlled by most industrialised countries and therefore serve their interest and those of TNC
  12.  

  13. That their conditions for lending money through Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) have impoverished our neighbouring countries
  14.  

  15. That the WTO and its GATT has nothing much for the benefit of the poor
  16.  

  17. That liberalisation has the most of effects on women workers

 

8. SACTWU

International Monetary Fund

Noting:

  1. The advice offered by the IMF, to the South African government, to implement a set of policies which will hurt the poor, the community and working people generally.
  2.  

  3. The hostility of the IMF to trade unions, and to our struggle for a better life for our communities.
  4.  

  5. The attacks by the IMF on wage rates in South Africa, but its silence on the apartheid wage gap which has favoured a small elite
  6.  

  7. The huge earnings of managers in South Africa, and the gap between themselves and workers, which are well above comparable wage differentials in countries such as Germany and Japan.

     

  8. The advice of the IMF which has destroyed sections of the Zimbabwean economy, and forced Zimbabwe to appeal for special trade agreements with South Africa.
  9.  

  10. The attempt by the IMF to impose on a new baasskap on all black South Africans, under the guise of "advice" to our democratic government, and through the dangling of loans.

Believing that:

  1. International institutions should serve the needs of all citizens, not just those of investors hungry for profits.
  2.  

  3. The textbook approach of the IMF, which has little appreciation of the real problems in the townships and workplaces in the third world countries.
  4.  

  5. The structure of the IMF allows for domination by big power countries, who are able to hide their interests under the cloak of objective economic advice.

Resolves:

  1. To condemn the activities of the IMF in South Africa.
  2.  

  3. To call on government to remain true to the spirit of the Reconstruction and Development Programme drawn up jointly by the Alliance, which sees the need for massive income redistribution in South Africa.
  4.  

  5. To convene a conference involving trade unions, community groups political parties and government officials, to discuss how best to respond to this new imperialism.



4.5 September Commission Report

 

NUMSA

Comments on September Commission

All comments relate to rough drafts, short versions.

Chapter 3

Most points are covered in NUMSA’s standing political resolution. The points below are extra:

1. Page 7 of shortened versions

Change "Developmental" State to "Caring" State

2. Page 9 of shortened versions

NUMSA chooses choice B

Chapter 4

See also NUMSA economic policy

1. page 20 of shortened versions

NUMSA agrees with 4.1 but will only sign if the 5 elements detailed are part of the Accord.

 

On Stakeholder society:

 

Co-determination in the private sector together with participation on the Board of Directors is politically dangerous, because:

  • it will make our interest/agenda the same as that of the bosses

     

  • it will force us to succumb to market forces that operate the individual enterprise

     

  • it will force us to manage the crisis of capitalist and make us participate in retrenchments and downsizing of our members.

     

As a counter to co-determination, labour should pursue a policy of extended collective bargaining. What this means is that as unions, we should fight for extending our role into areas that up to now have been considered as management prerogative viz:

  • investment

     

  • planning

     

  • acquiring machinery and technology etc.

     

  • platforms to pursue this policy of extended collective bargaining:

     

  • plant level

     

  • normal collective bargaining institutions

     

  • representations to the Board of Directors and shareholders general meeting.

     

To achieve the above, legislation on corporate governance is needed. This legislation must compel companies to disclose to unions plans to go to Board of Directors and shareholders annual general meeting.

In line with the above, unions must trigger workplace forums. Instead we must use traditional union structures.

 

State Sector:

 

1. We support the Commission on expanding and transforming the State.

2. While supporting the Commission on the State sector, we think that the proposals are limited:

  • no proposal on how to realign and co-ordinate existing state enterprises

     

  • does not provide a clear way forward on how to deal with ongoing privatisation

     

  • few proposals on what should be developed and expanded.

     


NUMSA Recommendations:

  1. there should be co-ordination and realignment of existing enterprises. The state must have a plan for its economic activities in its parastatals e g how many lines Telkom will provide, where and within what time frame.
  2.  

  3. COSATU should draw up a balance sheet on current privatisation programme and the role of the Unions in it.
  4.  

  5. On the basis of this balance sheet COSATU should revisit the NFA and move from the approach which encourages sectoral approaches to restructuring of state assets. Because of the adverse implications of privatisation, COSATU should be central in negotiating restructuring.
  6.  

  7. In implementing this, COSATU should look at how activities of different enterprises can be realigned and what is considered as non-core by one enterprise can be a building block for new parastatals or can be transferred to other parastatals.
  8.  

  9. As part of its expansion programme, COSATU must investigate the establishment of a financial parastatal.
  10.  

  11. While COSATU is campaigning for financial parastatal, we need to fight for regulation of macro-lending sector "cash loans".
  12.  

  13. As a matter of urgency, COSATU should oppose further deregulation of this sector as this is leading our members into serious debt.
  14.  

  15. Government must set a ceiling on the interest rate that this sector charges.
  16.  

  17. As a way of transforming parastatals, labour must advocate the policy of worker reps on the Board of Directors.
  18.  

  19. These worker reps should act on the mandate of the Union and should pursue a transformation agenda.
  20.  

  21. This policy of having worker reps on the Board of Directors should apply to all companies where the state has majority shares, even if this is through the IDC.
  22.  

  23. We support the transformation of development and financial institutions e g IDC, DBSA etc.

 

Socially owned sector:

 

1. We agree with the September Commission recommendations on :

  • Trustee activism

     

  • COSATU conference on strategy towards retirement funds

     

  • Workers and policy holders must sit on the board of mutual funds.

     

NUMSA Recommendations:

  1. COSATU between now and the conference on retirement funds must approach the National Financial Services Board and demand that the easy withdrawal of funds by members, is frozen.
  2.  

  3. COSATU and its affiliates to educate its membership around the importance of saving and using their retirement funds wisely.
  4.  

  5. Support the proposal for prescribed assets of funds to be used for infrastructural investment.
  6.  

  7. We are opposed to privatised companies being transformed into socially owned companies.
  8.  

  9. But we support COSATU / NALEDI investigations/research on how companies that go under can be socially owned.

 

Co-ops:

 

1. We support the recommendation of the Commission on condition that they remain independent from the Unions.

 

Union investments:

 

1. We support the commission’s recommendation that there should be guidelines on union investments.

Chapter 5

See also NUMSA’s existing policy

 

Restructuring the Public Sector:

 

1. We support the general thrust of the recommendations contained in the Commission report.

2. In addition to the recommendations made by the Commission:

  1. COSATU must have a framework on public sector restructuring. It is on the basis of this framework that individual affiliates must engage the state on restructuring.
  2. Severance packages must be stopped as the government has no national plan on restructuring.
  3. Any rationalisation that takes place must not affect delivery of services.
  4. The practice of employing consultants must be discouraged. If any employment of consultants takes place it must be on the basis that existing personnel cannot do the job, and that any consultant will be paid the rate of the ordinary public servant.
  5. COSATU should insist that any increase that MPs receive must be the same rate as that of public servants.

Chapter 6

On this chapter NUMSA is guided by its own resolutions on the issue see pages ????

On certain specific issues:

1. NUMSA agrees on issues raised under point 4.3 on page 9.

2. NUMSA rejects proposals on point 3.2 "Union participation at executive level" on page 5. Instead it proposes:

    "extended collective bargaining" and to fight for "negotiations" not consultation over matters of interest to our own members such as information disclosure, decision-making in these extended collective bargaining forums. In other words it will continue to challenge management prerogative on issues.

Chapter 7

NUMSA:

agrees to point (c) of recommendations under 1.5

resolved that affiliates should begin a process of analysing the profile of white collar workers in their sectors and develop appropriate strategies for organising them. COSATU organising dept. to assist affiliates where necessary to develop strategies and facilitate the sharing of information and strategies.

Chapter 9

On structures:

National level:

NOBs

6 full-time NOBs

(2 officials + 4 workers elected)

(NOBs subject to recall)

EXCO

Status quo: 2 per affiliate

COSATU NOBs, RS

Meet 1 x month

(NOBs subject to recall)

CEC

4 per affiliate (NOBs of affiliates to ensure that delegates are consistent)

meets 2 x per year

power to convene a CC if the need arises

CC

300 – 500 delegates with proportional representation

meets 1 x per year

(power to recall)

National Congress

1 x 4 years

Regional level:

ROBs

Must be full-time Shop stewards

- chair

- vice-chair

- treasurer

meet weekly

REC

2 delegates per affiliate (RS + 1 worker delegate)

meet 1 x month

combine functions with those of RC

Regional Shop Steward Council

Meets 2 x per year

Function: mobilisation

Regional Congress

Meet 3 x per year

Functions: same

Local level:

Local Office Bearers

Meet weekly as a working structure

Local Executive Committee

LOBs of affiliates

Meets 1 x per month

Local Shop Steward Council

Meets 4 – 12 times per year

COSATU Local General Meeting

For all COSATU members. Could also include wider working class.

Meets as and when required

On 4.b "Strengthen the NOBs"

NUMSA agrees that there should be full-time NOBs and ROBs:

1. COSATU to negotiate for LRA to be amended to give those COSATU NOBs and ROBs full-time shop steward status and employment security

2. Until LRA is amended, we will have to campaign on the ground for these rights for the NOBs and ROBs.

Chapter 10

Add to campaigns

 

COSATU to campaign vigorously on the following issues:

  • childcare facilities

     

  • family violence

     

  • unequal wages

     

  • affirmative action

     

  • culture and tradition

     

  • health and safety.

     

The following need to be negotiated and achieved:

  • code of conduct in the workplace covering sexual harassment/discrimination

     

  • childcare facilities in meetings must be taken seriously

     

  • gender representation in constitutional structures of all affiliates and the federation

     

Chapter 11

Additions to recommendations:

1. Unions should consider specialisation for organisers e g on dismissal, retrenchments, industrial policy, restructuring etc.

2. Administrators should be trained to provide advice office skills as well.

3. Delegation of authority

4. Unions to set aside 10% of their income to educate staff and shop stewards.

 

2. NEHAWU

1. Introduction

    1.1 This Policy framework was adopted by our National Policy conference on the 26,27 June 1997 just before we celebrated our tenth anniversary on the 28th June. The vision that is articulated in this framework is very much influenced by the past ten years of our existence as part of the twelve years of workers struggles spearheaded by COSATU. The debates that ensued leading to the adoption of this policy framework were also informed and in many ways guided by the all important, historic September Commission process. This framework therefore represents our response to some of the questions raised in the September Commission Report. Of course we will still raise our detailed responses within this framework in the run-up to and at Congress.

    As a union, we are very proud of this history of dedicated struggle for political liberation and economic emancipation of all working men and women in our country. This struggle has been inspired by many years of the liberation movement’s tradition of connecting workplace struggles with the broader struggle for political and socio-economic liberation. It is this tradition that NEHAWU wants to carry forward in the Federation into the next round of working class struggles in the 21st century.

    1.2 We have been and continue to be part and parcel of the national liberation movement that spearheaded a vast national democratic revolution which brought about an end to apartheid-colonial rule in our country. At the helm of the national liberation movement has been the revolutionary alliance between the ANC, SACP, COSATU plus SANCO. Throughout the history of our national democratic revolution, the alliance has always been understood as a unity of independent formations representing the oppressed and exploited majority of South Africans. It is the strategic and leading role of the alliance that has culminated in the final demise of the evil system of apartheid-colonialism in 1994.

    1.3 It is now three years since the ANC won an overwhelming electoral victory in 1994, and the political situation facing NEHAWU and the Federation at the start of our second decade is very different than the one we faced at our founding congress in 1987.

    1.4. As we celebrate our tenth anniversary, it is politically imperative that we review our past and reposition ourselves for the next decade. The Policy Conference had a critical re-examination of the whole union, the trade union movement and the environment in which we find ourselves, the forces which are shaping the current transition, as well as the prevailing balance of class forces and how this will influence our choice of strategy and tactics. This analysis will be critical for the Federation at its coming 5th National Congress.

2. Political Strategy

  •  

      2.1.1 Karl Marx was a Humanist philosopher. This is our starting point. He believed that people were at the core of how the world functions and that people make history. This basic belief in the ability of people to change things is one that we share. The philosophy goes a stage further when we consider the theory of Historical Materialism - the concept that people make history. There are powerful forces conflicting with each other, but they are people driven. The class forces characterising capitalism are the working class and the capitalist class. The conflict between these two classes, and the form that this conflict takes, shapes the world we live in - the state, standards of living, culture, social provision and even ideology, as people’s ideas are shaped by the impact of the class conflict on their lives.

      Globalisation is therefore not a natural, qualitatively new period of capitalist development. It is a choice, a strategy of those it will benefit most, the global monopoly capital. Globalisation can therefore be challenged and defeated by those it threatens to destroy.

      2.1.2 Marxism, as a body of knowledge that helps explains how class contradictions and conflict of analysis and practice influence the development of society, remains a very powerful revolutionary tool. It analyses how the working class, made up of the majority who have no choice but to sell their labour power, have the capacity to deprive the much smaller capitalist class of the control it has over the means of production, or the economy. For this to occur, there needs to be revolutionary action by the working class, organised behind a revolutionary working class party which will give leadership to this class. The main function of the party is to challenge capitalism in all its manifestations and lead the struggle to build socialism.

      2.1.3 These theories need careful examination and continuos testing in the concrete situation that exists in South Africa today and in the light of an aggressive neo-liberal agenda or what has been called the globalised world. We need to address a number of questions. These are vital issues to resolve if we are to respond with confidence to the pressures being put on the ANC in government to adopt policies, such as GEAR, that most people regard as a backward step in the process of reconstruction that we are engaged in. The questions include:

      · Is the Marxist definition of class still relevant today? We believe it is. Perhaps more important now than any other issue, but we need a more sophisticated analysis than the basic division of society into two classes.

      · Given the size of the public sector in South Africa, particularly the high level of capital assets in the public sector( 51% in capital stock), can we describe our economy as Capitalist? Yes, but the past regime practiced a kind of twisted state intervention that has left, inadvertently, a base for building socialism in the public sector.

      The economy of South Africa is part of a world economy dominated by banking and financial interests. Can we avoid the imposition of regressive policies that reduce the role of the public sector? We believe that we can. It will be difficult and will involve struggle and sacrifice, but that will be nothing new and is what the working class have to do to transform society. We believe our movement is well placed to lead this struggle and that it is imperative for progressive forces all over the world that South Africa rejects the neo-liberal agenda.

      What is Socialism? Many point to the Soviet Union and say that the system failed and is of no relevance to South Africa. Socialism in the form that it took in Eastern Europe did fail, that is why people rejected that system. But it is clear from voting patterns in these countries that people do not accept capitalism either. We need to define our own path to socialism learning from these mistakes.

      Is the idea of a revolutionary Communist Party still justified? We have the Unions to defend our interests at work and the ANC to legislate in our interests in Parliament, so why the SACP? Should it merge with the ANC? These debates are relevant, but currently the Alliance, consisting of ANC/SACP/COSATU plus SANCO, is the driving force of the NDR and is the only real force that can tilt the struggle in favour of the working class and for socialism. Is it true that the SACP, COSATU and SANCO are too close to the ANC, weakened by their involvement in government, and are no longer able to represent the interests of workers? Should a new workers party be established? That debate needs to take place, and we will join in it.

      2.1.4 We must accept that these are all legitimate questions and should be debated. The following are our initial views on these subjects, but we emphasise again that there are other questions that should and will be posed, and other views that will emerge. These views are just the start of the debate, not the conclusion.

      We firmly believe that this analysis is necessary if the working class is to respond effectively to the many challenges facing us today in South Africa.

      2.2.1 Classical Marxist theory has it that society is divided into two classes - the working class( proletariat) and the ruling class (bourgeoisie). Whilst this is broadly still the case, it has been pointed out by Marxists after Marx (Lenin, Gramsci and Althusser) that this two class theory does not adequately explain the process of class formation and the fact that there is a middle strata that becomes a very important area of ideological contestation between the two main contending class forces. These Marxists have pointed out that the issue of class is more than just whether you work, and whether you produce surplus for the employer. Those earning very large sums of money, those who through Education, mobility, their work environment, their homes and circle of friends who do not see themselves as working class, need to be recognised as separate from the working class. We believe that this is a growing group in this country and does not fit neatly into the two class theory. They constitute the gray area between the two main classes.

      2.2.2 It is of particular importance to us when we start to examine the newly emerging black business sector, those who are doing very well out of the changes taking place in our country and their relationship to the established, mainly White bourgeoisie. Many come from our class but are no longer truly working class in terms of their culture, values and ideology, even if they don’t own the means of production. It is therefore true that there is stratification and class formation currently underway in the liberation movement. This development needs to be analysed and harnessed so that it does not negatively affect the agenda for socialism.

      2.2.3. We need to consider whether the characterisation of the relationship between race, class and gender which has guided our revolution is still appropriate. We believe it is, since it is still largely Black and women Workers that are super-exploited, who face unemployment, have no accumulated wealth or assets. However we do believe that the specific exploitation of women has been inadequately analysed and that policies for ending such exploitation at work and in the home have not been given enough prominence. But this does not mean the issue of racial and gender oppression should take precedence over that of class exploitation in terms of the agenda of the ANC or the Alliance as a whole. What we are saying is that equality and strategies for overcoming discrimination should be central to the struggle for Socialism and that just as we should build socialism now, so to be able to build equality and to challenge patriarchy and racism.

       

      Flowing from this it clear that the Federation needs to take concrete and practical steps to achieve the goals of our already existing policies on gender equality. These should targeted at what can be achieved in collective bargaining, through political education, in changing the labour market, in dealing with domestic work etc. The Federation should monitor the implementation of these programmes across all affiliates to ensure for instance that demands such as child care facilities gain prominence in the collective bargaining agendas of affiliates. Struggles such as free child care facilities should seen as part of the struggle to expand the social wage and reduce the size of unpaid labour from which the bosses benefit so much.

      The gender sub-committee of COSATU should play a more active role in the work of affiliates and report to the Executive which should ensure compliance with agreed positions by all affiliates.

      One of the concrete steps we are proposing is the immediate implementation of the gender quota system in the election of office bearers, in appointment of officials and election of delegates within the Federation and affiliates.

      2.2.4 The main contradiction in our economy is that created by capitalism. However, the historical development of capitalism in SA took a predominantly racial character. The immediate programme of the liberation movement is therefore to undo the legacy of racial capitalism in all its manifestations.

      2.2.5 In this respect the main strategic opponent of the working class has always been, and still is, domestic and international monopoly capital. It is by targeting this reservoir of wealth that the contradictions between the working class and the emerging Black capitalist class can be seen to be of limited importance. In terms of advancing the NDR this point is fundamental. We cannot allow the transformation process to be turned into a squabble over who gets the crumbs from privatisation. This will mean limiting Black Economic Empowerment to a class of entrepreneurs, will be detrimental to Black workers in particular, and will result in the type of policies that are emerging from government currently, where equity amongst the poor replaces equity between the current ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’.

      2.2.6 On the other hand, the Apartheid system has created a massive pool of cheap and unskilled labour made up of mainly black working class men and women and suffering in precisely the way Marx predicted as being a natural development of Capitalism and how Lenin and others showed colonialism and imperialism would affect people.

      2.2.7 We have therefore concluded that whilst the broad definition of two classes still applies, there are strata that is neither working class nor part of the ruling class and it is called the petty bourgeoisie or middle strata. As Lenin said, this group is inconsistent, unreliable and vacillates between the working class and the bourgeoisie. It is also the most vocal, crying loudest about it’s conditions and purporting to speak on behalf of all the people. This is an important change in thinking that will influence many aspects of our policy. The key issue for the working class is whether they will lead the revolution and whether they can ensure that this vacillating class is won over to the side of the working class. Policies that we develop must ensure that this is so.

      2.3.1 It can be argued that Marxists have generally believed that Capitalism continues to exist until it is overthrown and replaced by the "worker state". Until " state power" has been achieved and power is exercised by the working class in its own interests, Socialism is not possible, and the economy has to be described as Capitalist. In its 1962 Programme "The Road to South African Freedom", the SACP, saw the struggle against national oppression being intricately linked with the struggle against workers exploitation. This approach became known as the two stage theory. It is here that apartheid was characterised as a special type of bourgeoisie rule, a special type of colonialism. This perspective was adopted by the ANC at the famous Morogoro Conference in 1969. The National Democratic Revolution as the first stage of our two stage revolutionary struggle would lay a basis for the second stage, which will be a socialist revolution.

      2.3.2 The ANC as a broad movement would lead the first stage of the revolution. How the second stage would be played out was never discussed in detail. It could be led by the SACP, by an ANC that becomes a socialist organisation, or by a new organisation created for this purpose. Once the Apartheid state had been defeated, the capitalist system would still be in place, and it would take a second stage of revolutionary action to replace it with Socialism. In this perspective, we saw the ANC leading the first stage of the revolution, whose main content was the liberation of blacks in general and the African majority in particular.

      2.3.3 For most socialists and communists, it was implied that the SACP would then lead the second stage, or like what happened elsewhere in the Third World, the ANC would be transformed into a Marxist-Leninist party of the working class. Throughout the struggle against apartheid, this theory has been quite helpful in achieving both a focus and the division of labour within the alliance.

      2.3.4 It has always been unclear as to when the second stage will start and what form of working class organisation should lead this stage. This leads us to question the extent to which this "two stage" thesis is still helpful. How is this approach still helpful in assisting us to build socialism in our life time? The ANC, whose stated policies are of a Socialist character (the Freedom Charter is still a very radical vision), is in Government and has control of the state. To a certain extent the ANC government is exercising that power in the interests of the people. It can theoretically ensure that this is exercised in the interests of the working class in particular. We also believe that the concept of "state power" needs to be thoroughly unpacked. There are Marxists like Gramsci, who have contributed a lot in unpacking how "power" is exercised in a capitalist state - through coercion and consent. When we say socialism is the future build it now, we are breaking the theoretical wall between the struggle to consolidate the NDR and that of building socialism. We believe the only way to take democracy to its logical conclusion is by building socialism in our country. Socialism is therefore not another distant stage. The SACP shares this perspective which is captured in the slogan Socialism is the Future, Build it Now !. The key issue is how to ensure that this becomes the general view of the Alliance. Central to this is resolving the issue of which organisation leads the Alliance and in which class’s interests.

    •  

        There was the assumption of power by the Working Class.

        The unification of the Soviet Socialist Republics was achieved.

        The Soviet Union promoted self determination.

        There were huge advances in education, health and culture.

        There was a transformation of the state into one that was controlled by and for the workers (we can argue about how long that lasted, but the early decades were exciting and dramatic advances for workers that had never previously occurred)

        Democratic processes were inadequate, including the lack of a strong, independent trade union movement.

        A ruling strata developed that was no longer, at a certain stage, working class. There was a return to the "old order".

        The people wanted more diversity and choice, and this was not delivered.

        Rights and freedoms that many would regard as essential, were denied.

        The ruling elite became corrupted by their excessive powers.

        There was the beginnings of a form of Socialist imperialism.

    • 2.4.1 There has been a lot said about the Soviet Union and the Socialism of Eastern Europe. We do not believe that the Soviet Union is a model we would want to follow. We believe firmly in developing our own vision of Socialism, based on our own experience of struggle in the particular conditions that we are facing. Having said that , there are good and bad aspects of previous attempts at achieving Socialism which are useful to record.

      2.4.2. On the positive side:

      2.4.3. On the negative side there has to be an acknowledgment that:

      2.4.4. These are some of the lessons that we believe will be useful in shaping our own vision of Socialism. A shining example of actually existing socialism is the Cuban model of socialism, which is more popularly supported and defended by the Cuban masses in the face of US aggression. Cuba has survived many imperialist hardships because of its reliance on its people. Socialism in Cuba is not just for few bureaucrats. Other socialist projects in the People’s Republic of China, Vietnam, and other countries show that socialism has not collapsed and is not a total failure. In addition to this, social-democratic experiments in mainly Western Europe have delivered massive benefits and advances to the working class. These are not the essence of socialism, but steady reforms and improvement of the conditions of workers is central to building socialism. Fighting for such things as gender equity, social security, a living wage, a national health system and other such benefits is an integral part of the socialist revolution.

      2.5.1. In SA, we have a progressive Constitution and the new Labour Relations Act, we have a very powerful and influential Trade Union Federation in COSATU (though it does not always use that power effectively), and there is a history of power being expressed outside of traditional structures - for example the power of the civics. There were times when the country was "ungovernable" as a result of the will of the people not to accept the authority of the Apartheid state. We believe hat Capitalism is still a powerful force in South Africa, but that it is not as powerful as many would have us believe, because of the ascendancy of the ANC into government . Of course this does not mean that the ANC is making use of the state power it has to exercise strategic leverage over capital.

      2.5.2. We have a Capitalist mixed Economy", although the "mix" is too much in favour of Capital. The state has a significant stake in the present SA economy and Capital is vigorously challenging that role - a fact that leads us to conclude that the capitalist class itself does not believe it has everything its own way, and that it does not exercise the hegemony over the economy and the state that it exercises elsewhere in Africa and beyond

      2.5.3. It also needs to be said that Apartheid and its Capitalist class partners did a dreadful job of simultaneously developing and under-developing the South African economy. The concentration on agriculture and mining has left the economy with a very narrow base.

      2.5.4. The modern state in South Africa was developed by colonialists and later the NP and its apartheid policies to serve the interests of a small White minority. As attempts to reform this proceeded the bureaucracy of the state was bloated and has to all extents become dysfunctional in many respects. The political economy of apartheid has left us with an economic structure that is grossly distorted. It has many weaknesses and it has become obvious that the system has failed to deliver the type of powerful and resilient economy that could be expected in a country with such raw materials, adaptable labour and infrastructure.

      2.5.5. In summary we believe that capitalism has developed in South Africa, through colonialism and apartheid into a monopoly capitalism. But that there are serious weaknesses and opportunities for the working class to challenge the power of capital and exercise working class power.

      2.5.6. As workers, we need to develop strategies for effectively transforming the economy towards a socialist orientation. We must take research and policy development seriously. Through our experience of work and of the process of managing production and knowledge that will be crucial for the struggle for socialism, we are more than able to introduce socialist forms of ownership, work organisation and management.

      2.5.7. We are very concerned at the suggestion that the South African government has no choice but to retreat on the RDP, cut back on public services, reduce Union influence, and generally act in a way that "attracts investors". We accept that there are pressures and that we cannot ignore the threats to dis-invest, withhold loans etc. These are real pressures, that we need to discuss with our allies and develop counter strategies to deal with this false consensus.

      2.5.8. We can and we must continue to move in a Socialist direction. Whist there may be the need, from time to time, for tactical retreats we believe some comrades are turning tactical problems into longer term strategic blockages, In other words short term compromises made for tactical reasons are being turned into permanent defeats, that are an integral part of an supposedly unchangeable world order. Such "pessimism of the will", is not only unscientific - it is demoralising and disempowering, particularly at a time when the opportunities are so great.

       

      2.5.9. The very notion of globalisation being a qualitatively new period of capitalist development is highly debatable, because it is nothing more than imperialism. But in any case, even if what the ideologues of neo-liberalism argue is true, that we must accept the dictate of the market and bow to the will of international capital, this will not lead to any improvement in the lives of working people. And therefore the working people will resist and challenge it.

      2.5.10. There are countless examples of countries in Africa, Asia and elsewhere that have been restructured by the "globalised" model of development put forward by the IMF and World Bank. If the working class need to push capital in this country to the brink to transform this current miserable system, then so be it. We are ready to fight and will if necessary. It would be far better for all if this transformation is a negotiated process, utilising structures such as NEDLAC, workplace forums and other institutions. But transformation does not rely on these. It is driven by the will of the working class to build socialism. In this respect the unions will seek to ensure that we build solidarity, friendship and contact between workers all over the world.

      2.5.11. It is very easy to arrive at a conclusion that the new democracy in our country is bourgeois democracy. How many times have we heard comrades saying this? Why? Because Marxists often think that there is either proletarian democracy or bourgeoisie democracy. There is no space for a transition between the two. What about national democracy - the type of democracy that is evolving in our country? Of course, we are not arguing for a middle-ground democracy, some democracy in between. We are simply pointing out that there is no guaranteed outcome of the NDR. If the NDR stagnates, we can end up with liberal-bourgeois democracy without any meaningful content for the poor and working people. But if we consolidate the NDR, as we are trying to do now, we can and shall move to higher forms of democracy.

      2.5.12. The key issue is whether the working class will build the necessary organisational capacity and develop the correct strategy and programme to consolidate the NDR and ensure that socialism is the outcome. It is important that we start to move beyond the generalities and start clarifying concretely what we mean by Socialism. We believe there are some key elements that need to be in place for the system to be described as socialist.

      These include:

      A mixed economy, with a powerful role for the public sector. Further discussion is needed about how much of the economy needs to be under democratic control. More work is also needed on non-capitalist forms of ownership and control. Central to building Socialism is the notion of social capital, where unions, collectives and communities develop capital, resources and assets that are owned by the people and not as individual wealth.

      Working Class leadership across a wide area, not just control of the state. This means a whole "hegemony" being developed - sport, culture, values , the media, etc. but most importantly in politics.

      Democracy. This does not mean traditional notions of (Capitalist) democracy, though such forms may emerge. Democracy is exercised through the trade unions, through various civic organisations, through workplace democracy etc. Some new forms of democracy are likely to emerge during the struggle. The important issue is to have a strong commitment to democracy at the heart of our vision.

      Equality. The concept of equality, for women in particular, and the ending of all forms of oppressive discrimination, is central. Whilst equality of pay is not needed, everyone has the right to a decent level of income, and none should suffer any form of prejudice because of who they are as people.

      2.5.13. All of these features must be won, piece by piece, inch by inch and will involve hard battles, struggle and most of all the courage to stand up against the might of capital. What seem like reforms to us are often mortal blows against capital. We need not fool ourselves, capital will respond aggressively against this agenda. The only weapon we have is the unity of the working class and our revolutionary theory. We do not believe that any ‘Accord’ by the Tripartite Alliance will bring any qualitative improvement, on the contrary we do believe it will be viewed as a replacement of struggle. The best accord is the ability and strength of organised workers and the working class in general to push the ANC government to implement popular policies and resist the imposition of neo-liberal agendas on our national democratic project. If what is suggested is a common Alliance Framework to which all partners must be politically committed, then we are prepared to debate.

      2.6.1. It is right that as workers we discuss this issue. We need to examine the main components of the revolutionary alliance. This alliance is unique, and one that has achieved huge advances for the people of our country. However we have to be critical and think analytically about the forms of organisation needed to consolidate the NDR and achieve Socialism.

      2.6.2. It is first necessary to state that trade unions alone cannot achieve Socialism. An alliance with other working class formations is absolutely essential. A Trade Union has a vital role in building Socialism, but cannot be a political party and at the same time continue to be an effective Trade Union (the example of Solidarinosc in Poland is useful to demonstrate this point).

      2.6.3 A critical examination of the ANC

      The ANC in government has been severely criticised for heeding to the pressure. The most visible act has been the adoption of GEAR, which is now forming part of the cadre development programme of the organisation. The ANC, despite weaknesses identified throughout this document, remains the only mass organisation of the people.

      2.6.4. Of particular concern is the number of trade union leaders that have been deployed or moved into the state without any continued link with the labour movement. It is vital that COSATU maintain strategic links with these comrades, especially those who still have a "left conscience". Some of them are fighting lonely battles in parliament or in state departments. These people are only relating to the ANC through government. This is a serious weakness. Some of them, particularly in the civil service, no longer regard themselves as comrades. They see themselves as "neutral" professionals. This is a very dangerous and disturbing development.

      2.6.5. When it comes to building the ANC, it has become quite clear that many ANC members have been so busy in state institutions and other organisations (and here we must be critical of ourselves in the Trade Unions, who have been immersed in the task of building our structures, mobilizing our members to achieve changes at work etc.) that they (we) have not found the time needed to build and sustain ANC structures. These structures were, and still are today, vital for the effective democratic functioning of the organisation, and they have been found wanting. We believe that a strong, democratic and working class-driven ANC that is biased to the working class, women, youth and the poor will guarantee us a relatively smooth transition to socialism. As members of COSATU, we should do all we can to push the ANC in that direction, by ensuring all workers are ANC members and that the ANC takes up the issues of the working class. As part of our struggle to achieve this aim the Federation should deploy as many as possible of its cadres to take leadership positions at all levels of the ANC. This should include the office bearers of the Federation at all levels

      2.6.6. The ANC has been and remains a broad multi-class movement which represents the interests of the poor. Its class content is and will always be determined by the class or strata that is hegemonic at any given moment in its history. It is for this reason that the working class will stand to lose if the ANC is pushed towards a monolithic free market political party. To the extent that the balance of forces are in favour of the working class and the left in general, we should strive to progressively build a socialist vision within the ANC and indeed move to socialism through the ANC. This does not mean that we should do away with the SACP as an independent party of the working class. As to which organisational vehicle will get us to socialism is not a matter of principle. time and space will influence our choice of tactics, not a dogmatic clinging to names.

      2.6.7. One of the major issues to be resolved is the fact that the ANC government is not implementing ANC and Alliance policies. There is the argument that a government cannot be accountable to ANC members alone. They are accountable to the whole of the electorate. In other words even if we do rebuild ANC democracy, the government will not be accountable to them. We would find this argument more convincing if there were alternative democratic structures being proposed, which the government would consult when they want to depart from their democratic mandate. We look forward to such proposals! In the meantime, the government was elected by the ANC supporters, on a mandate, the RDP. It must carry out this mandate to the letter. Major policy shifts, such as GEAR, must be taken to the ANC and Alliance structures for thorough debate before adoption. The Cabinet must not use the ANC as a rubber-stamp.

      2.6.8 A critical examination of the SA Communist Party

      Just as the unions must take some responsibility for the current set backs on the economic front (we emphasise this aspect because in many other areas the government is making tremendous progress, which needs to be acknowledged when criticism is being made), so also must the SACP. The party appears to have suffered some paralysis, possibly resulting from the legacy of Apartheid propaganda and the collapse of Eastern European Socialism. There are many SACP victories that are going "unsung" because the party cadres are working loyally in the unions or the ANC. Of course communists must remain disciplined members of mass organisations. But they must also popularise socialist goals and gains in these formations. In other words, they must not become part of the people who ask "where is the Party? They must be there to answer rather than to ask infinite questions. Revolutionary socialist gains are not being popularised. for the enormous task that it has to perform.

      2.6.9. It is our view that the SACP has a vital role to play. It needs to recruit more workers in its ranks. Its needs to jerk up its organisational structures. Its needs to consolidate its vision of achieving socialism now. As NEHAWU and the Trade Union Movement cadres are urged to join the party and build it in the workplace and community so that we can achieve socialist transformation in South Africa.

      The task of building this working class Party must be an integral part of every COSATU affiliate’s day to day work. We must build mechanisms of accounting on the execution of this task at all major union meetings.

      2.6.10. There is a need to consider whether the party adequately addresses the issues that organised workers are engaged in. It is time to consider Industrial or sectoral Party structures. There should be Industrial units that would help focus the working class on key transformational aims and use the experience of applying theory in practice to inform policy development. The party appeals for greater worker involvement but should take the responsibility for co-ordination of this by allocating resources, creating the necessary structures, and deploying cadres to do this work.

      2.6.11. As workers, we still have something in common with such people if they are committed to democracy and against racism, sexism and discrimination. But that is where it ends. The Party needs to begin to expose the class agenda operating in the movement and as the vanguard of the working class it must courageously fight against the bourgeoisie of all colour. This is the most important role of the Party. Of course, this means Party cadres will be targeted for victimisation, slander, abuse and even threatened physically by capital.

      2.6.12. Any role for a "Workers Party" ?

      The existing SACP is a working class party. It is difficult, therefore, to see how a new party would add to what we already have in the combination of Party, COSATU and the ANC. In any case, alternative "workers parties" exist and have always stood in opposition to the ANC and the SACP. But workers have followed those organisations that have most accurately articulated their demands and interests. The track record of the ANC and SACP speak for themselves. The overwhelming support for these organisations speaks for the workers. The role of a party of the working class in the NDR is to give theoretical expression to the interests of the working class, to organise the working class into the party, to school them in revolutionary theory and in the art of politics and struggle. It must not be separated from the masses, hence must have relationship with the National Liberation Movement and the Trade Union Movement. Thus far the SACP has most successfully done these things.

      2.6.13. Looking at the alliance as a collective there are also some criticisms to be leveled. The alliance has lacked clear structures for policy making and accountability. The result has been confusion about how policies are arrived at and how policies are changed. Effective structures are urgently needed if past errors are not to be repeated. We cannot seriously talk of an alliance if the component parts only meet when there is an election or when there is a crisis. We must argue for development of a political centre with the ability to have oversight over all the political, organisational and socio-economic developments within and outside governance. Whilst we understand this sector to be the ability of the revolutionary Alliance to play its overall strategic and leading role, this must find expression in the creation of a central capacity for the Alliance partners to play this role. This would include harnessing our human and material resources at one place which should process all the policy questions through our political leadership. The Alliance secretariat can be charged with the responsibility of monitoring and overseeing this.

       

      2.6.14. There must a policy of deployment of cadres to key functions within the state and in the liberation movement in general. The alliance must review the present practice in which people some times deploy themselves to different positions without accountability to structures. Lack of deployment and cadre policy often leads to people pursuing their narrow careerist interests at the expense of the transformation process.

      2.6.15. A Broad Popular Movement for Transformation (PMT)

      There has already been a lot of discussion within the broad mass democratic movement about this question. For us this movement is not a luxury, nor is it a narrow electoral coalition. The PMT is a necessary attempt to regroup the forces of democratic transformation and socialism. These forces range from the Alliance, youth, civic, women, religious and progressive non-governmental organisations. These forces need to be accumulated behind a radical democratic agenda, which is indeed an agenda for socialism. The PMT is not a new organisation, nor is it a nostalgic return to the UDF. It must be understood as a political centre for popular mass formations which currently lack a common reference point, a common agenda, shared vision of transformation, common sense of strategic purpose. PMT should be that reference point. The Federation must forcefully articulate this position if we are to ensure that the masses of our people do not remain passive spectators in the transformation process that is unfolding in our country.

      2.7.1 What should be the key elements of Transformation?

      It is important to note that in SA today everybody is talking the language of transformation. In this context, some are even using left-wing rhetoric to camouflage their right-wing ideas. As workers, our goal for transformation is socialism. When we talk of democratisation, transparency, consultation, participation, access to social services by the working class ( both employed and unemployed), delivery of quality services to the public, it is in the context of advancing towards socialism. We don’t think socialism is another distant world. The key to transformation is mobilisation, and this can only be achieved around clear objectives and the working class needs a holistic strategy that targets the state, the economy, and the rest of society for transformation. This means workers must be active in the trade union, in the community and in politics. We propose the following key aims:

      2.7.2 Transforming the state - what type of state?

      As already pointed out, there are many theories of what exactly is the state. As a liberation movement we have our own theoretical legacy of understanding the importance of state power and how such power should be exercised to transform society. We have now moved beyond this conceptual legacy of state power, to begin to re-emphasise the need for a particular type of state.

      2.7.3. We now want to dismantle the apartheid-capitalist state and construct, in its place, a national democratic state that has a developmental role in society. This type of state will be characterised by the following:

      Democratising the public sector in general and giving communities a stake in the services that are provided to them. Reduce higher echelons of bureaucracy - a more responsive state administration.

      Community mobilisation and involvement. The lessons and experiences of the Civics, NGOs, community groups etc. need to be drawn in to inform the process. Building the communal and social aspects of society in the forms of co-operatives, associations, community owned ventures etc., to build up organisational capacity amongst the working class in general, and to ensure working class hegemony is extended to all aspects of society.

      Workplace democracy and the re-organisation of work. The LRA provides for some element of democracy. We should go beyond the limits being suggested - not just co-determination.

      Worker control of "governance". The whole process of government needs to be changed, including changing the civil service into a driving force for change instead of an obstructive layer.

      Expansion of public services to improve the lives of the majority.

      Making the Parliament, Provincial Legislatures, and Councils more efficient, effective, and less expensive to the people.

      Build accountability - of the government, of companies, of financial institutions, of pension fund investors, and of managers.

  • 2.1 A revolutionary political theory to guide transformation.

    2.2 Race, Class and Gender in South Africa

    2.3 Theory of the South African revolution

    2.4 What Is Socialism?

    2.5 Socialism in South Africa

    2.6 The road to socialism - building strong organisations of the working class

    2.7 Building Socialism in our life time - The Transformation Agenda

    The whole of our nation is involved in the urgent task of transforming South Africa from the distortion that was Apartheid into a country that is governed for all the people. This a massive struggle that will take many years. However we should not let slip the opportunity that we have right now, and which may never present itself again, to make as much progress as possible. We believe that the Communist party slogan "Socialism is the Future, Build it Now" must be turned into a living reality. It should inform our approach to transformation, and inspire us to reject the disempowering arguments about limitations and "economic realities in a global economy". If we take our key elements that we regard as Socialism and we develop more concrete objectives around those themes it is possible to imagine Transformation as a means of achieving significant advances towards our ultimate goal of Socialism. Transformation must mean building socialism.

3. Section B : Socio-Economic Strategy

    3.1 The Political Economy of the Public Sector

    Marxist analysis of the social and productive relations between workers and bosses in the private sector has largely informed our approach to the public sector. We know that the bosses derive surplus from the exploitation of workers by generating surplus through the sale of commodities produced by workers, whilst underpaying these workers. By being able to calculate the cost of production, we can identify how much the bosses take home the money that legitimately belongs to workers.

    3.2 However, when it comes to understanding the state and service delivery in the public service, the relationship between the value of labour, capital costs and surplus becomes more complex. Unlike the private sector, the state does not necessarily generate surplus. Its orientation is more towards delivering social services which do not generate surplus. This does not mean that there are no state economic entities which generate surplus, e.g. Eskom. But it does mean that the principal motive of the state is not to generate profit or die. It also does not mean that state workers are not exploited. Their exploitation happens through the inability of the state in a capitalist economy to pay them the value of their labour. The state, in a capitalist economic environment, will always be forced to exert some type of exploitation or other. The fact is that workers in the public service do not produce surplus value and in fact the "S" comes out as negative, therefore signaling a loss or deficit. The state depends mainly on taxes in order to be able to deliver public services. The lesser the taxes for the capitalists, the bigger the surplus they make, and the more exploited workers become. It is also in this manner that a capitalist state becomes an exploiter of workers.

    3.3 We should never forget or allow others to forget that it is workers that produce all the wealth of the country - and this means all workers whether in the public or private sector. Public service workers and women in particular create wealth in the form of services and social infrastructures, which may not always be visible but are essential to the community and the economy, and are very clearly wealth creating.

    3.4. The State and Economy - old debate, new conditions

    The state is a set of institutions and relationships which exist to manage and regulate the relationships between people in society. The state is not and cannot be neutral. The state acts to accumulate, appropriate, and distribute resources. It is therefore a highly contested area of social activity. Part of the function of certain aspects of the state is to legitimise power, to keep order, and to deliver services. But the main function of the state in the capitalist system still remains the maintenance, however sophisticated, of private property. We should force the state through action to continue to play and expand its role in the productive economy. The Federation should strengthen its role in coordinating all the restructuring processes of state assets to avoid shouting slogans whilst the state continues to shed its responsibility over public assets.

    3.5. The present economic structure of South Africa, is direct result of colonial domination. White monopoly capital, dominated by mining and financial interests, controlled and distorted the industrial development of the economy. The apartheid-colonial state gave massive financial and policy support to mining-linked development, without necessarily encouraging an independent industrial policy that is not subordinated to mining.

    3.6. The legacy of this economic and political development is one of acute gender, racial and class exploitation and oppression that has given rise to mass poverty, unemployment and income disparity that has in turn created instability, including crime and violence. All government policies should be judged by the extent to which they are undoing the legacy of apartheid colonialism. GEAR cannot achieve this objective and must therefore be scrapped. All policies must be developed using participatory processes, involving all sections of society, workers in particular and alliance organisations. The Alliance should be the engine that drives the economic transformation of our country. We need an economic policy section within the proposed Alliance centre to coordinate the economic strategies of government.

    3.7. The Social Wage - the key to social equity and justice

    The demand for a social wage is very important in safeguarding and ensuring public provision of goods and services. The relatively low tax paid by the wealthy in South Africa shifts the burden unto the workers. These workers are themselves paid starvation wages and yet their wages form an important system of family support in the absence of a social security net. This situation is made worse by the failure of business neo-liberalism creating by unemployment than jobs in our country.

    3.8. When the crisis of capitalist accumulation occurs i.e. when less or no profit is becoming the dominant feature of capitalist production, the response of the owners of capital is well known:

    Downsizing - workers having to defend their jobs.

    Democratic gains come under attack.

    Workers rights are eroded.

    Public services are targeted for reductions and privatisation - a means of turning them into ordinary commodities.

    In other words, the social wage is under attack.

    3.9. There is a constant tension between workers on the one hand and capitalist employers on the other. However it would be wrong to see this as all one way. Workers often go on the offensive to challenge how the worker produced wealth is distributed. For example:

    Fighting to redress the imbalances caused by Apartheid through a social wage demand.

    Demanding that people’s interests are put before profit.

    Making decision makers accountable.

    Pressurising government to accept its important social role

    Campaigning for jobs and action on unemployment

    3.10. Discrimination, segmentation and fragmentation and unpaid labour

    Capitalism creates many contradictions and anomalies, and exerts a big influence over the working class, including the way people think - their ideology, culture, religion, etc. In other words, the working class is severely fragmented in terms of race, gender, ethnic divisions.

    3.11. In South Africa, where capitalism developed through a particularly oppressive system of Apartheid these contradictions are in very sharp focus. There are major issues around race, gender and other sectoral aspects of society. Women do a huge amount of unpaid work, without which many workers would not be able to be available for work as and when needed by the employer. When the social wage is reduced, for example when an elderly persons home gets closed down, it is women who end up taking over that responsibility, whilst men and women continue to be available for work. Workers are not paid additional wages in this situation so that they can pay women for the work they do in the household. Instead, what we witness is more pay cuts and a further level of exploitation of both men and women. Because of patriarchal relations in the household, women get additionally exploited through the unpaid labour they do to care for men and raise future workers. Working men may or may not be conscious of this exploitation. However, working men do not generate any surplus directly from exploitation of women. But this does not change the exploitative nature of domestic work.

    3.12. The racist policies of the Apartheid regime have left a legacy of division amongst workers, including racist attitudes amongst white workers, and even amongst different racial and ethnic groups within the non-white community. The apartheid wage gap continues to exist. Where employers can no longer pay differential salaries between White and Black workers they find ways of changing grading systems, or they resort to a restructuring process which pays out White workers to leave their jobs to be replaced by lower paid Black workers. The entire downsizing process for example, favours paying out workers large sums of money in return for which they vacate their post. This post is then abolished or downgraded. In this type of restructuring a fundamental point is not attended to. Black workers have not had the opportunity to build up pension benefits in the way White workers have, so they leave with less if they go. In addition, Black and Women workers are the main beneficiaries of the social wage which the public sector provides and which is being abolished currently. In any event, the main issue of accumulation of wealth through apartheid has still not been addressed. Monopoly capital still dominates the economy through owning almost 80% of the wealth of this country. The main attack by the Federation should be directed at destroying monopoly capital.

    3.13. A Critique of Government’s macro-economic policy.

    Government economic policy currently is based upon the following premises:

    The economy has structural weaknesses caused by years of apartheid mismanagement and yet the government treats this issue inconsistently.

    The state is spending too much money in general, on servicing the public debt and public sector.

    The public sector needs to be more "efficient", and that could mean everything from privatising parts of it to abolishing aspects of the public sector

    Investment will only come into South Africa if an "investor friendly" climate is created, meaning weaker unions, a flexible labour market, tax holidays, tough monetary policy that prioritizes keeping inflation down and the value of the and high

    Growth must be led in the main by the private sector investing.

    3.14 The following are the problems with this conservative approach to economic policy:

    It favours capital rather than labour

    It does prioritise growth over employment and redistribution

    It relies on the good will of capital rather on strategic intervention by the state

    It does not improve delivery of services to the poor and has instead led to real cuts in services

    It promotes capitalism rather than build on the existing basis for socialism

    3.15. This poses particular challenges to the union to:

    Develop economic policies that ensure radical redistribution of wealth and access to resources, by removing obstacles to redistribution such as the property clause in the constitution, advance collective and social forms of ownership such as co-operatives and community trusts and ventures

    Ensure that the state intervenes in the economy to limit the space for the tyranny of capital through lowering interests rates, regulating financial markets, increasing taxes on companies and the wealthy, and most importantly develops a coherent industrial policy that will develop industry and manufacturing in the economy

    Establish a clear set of policies and strategies around achieving gender equity and equality and the issue of unpaid work

    Put in place policies and strategies for building unity amongst workers and the working class

    Take up issues such as child labour

    3.16. Transforming the SA Economy

    The South African economic trajectory can only be understood as per the Colonialism of a Special Type thesis. In this theory, the development of the present structure of the economy and its inherent crisis is a direct consequence of both Dutch and British in complicity with apartheid. The key issue is how the present monopoly control over the economy by few conglomerates has been developed in the past three hundred years.

    3.17. The mining sector in our country has developed into a dominant sector of the economy, and thereby subordinating all sectors of the economy to its own agenda.

    As a result, manufacturing, agriculture, banking and the financial sector, have all developed as a direct subordinate of the mining sector. The industrial structure of the economy is therefore very underdeveloped and very weak.

    This is the most critical area for unions to target for revolutionary reforms and in terms of transformational issues. Unless we deal with monopoly capital as expressed by the domination by few mining capitalists who control the financial, agricultural and manufacturing sectors of the South African economy, there is no way we can talk of meaningful democracy.


    3.18. The key issue in relation to the strategy for economic transformation is to expand the public and the communally-owned sector, at the same time reduce the monopoly domination by the private sector. Specific policy measures are need to intervene in the legislative framework and budgetary process. The union and COSATU must have a clear response to GEAR and win support for these policies. We recognise that there is going to be private ownership and we are arguing for wholesale state ownership. The particular areas that need policy intervention are big business ( banking and financial markets and multi-nationals, the state-existing public enterprises, communally owned companies ( trade union investment companies, co-ops, housing corporations etc.) Transformation of the economy requires a strategy of simultaneous intervention in all these areas.

    Specifically:

    Nationalisation

    State intervention in key sectors of the economy such as the mining, agricultural, banking and financial sectors;

    Public/private partnerships between the sate and the community.

    Expanding communally owned sector and parastatals (particularly in housing, and transport but other areas too).

    Trade union investment companies - providing clear guidelines.

    Credit unions.

    Transforming and reducing the role of the market

    Regulate and stop short term financial flows. The reserve bank needs to be under government control.

    Develop watchdog bodies to represent consumer and community interests (e.g. for water, gas, around mining and other potentially damaging industries).

    A strategy for the direction of pension fund investments, under worker control, towards assisting the transformation process.

    Examine potential role for the reserve bank

    Find ways of giving workers a stake in their industries, and more worker control.

    More cooperatives and other experiments in non capitalist production

    There is a critical role for South Africa in helping to develop a Southern African Regional economy that is not dependent on the world bank and IMF.

    Dealing with immediate economic issues such as dealing with the Employment Standards Bill to win workers demands, closing the apartheid wage gap, employment creation, minimum wage regulation, providing retirement funds etc. that will bring important short-term benefits to workers.

    Land reform and the provision of land to the landless in the rural areas and for security net that will deal with the immediate problems of poverty and unemployment.

    Increase taxation of companies

    3.19. There must be an increasing role for the state in the running of the economy. It must play a developmental role biased towards women, children, senior citizens, disabled people and, in particular the working class, and must be actively involved in building Socialism. This is currently not the case and there must be a complete review of government policy. This should involve this new political vision and the necessary structural reform, work organisation and service delivery. There should be an emphasis on re-deployment and not downsizing. There is a need for an anti IMF, Globalisation/Structural adjustment programmes campaign and one aimed at scrapping third world debt. There must be mobilisation of the working class and the mass movement around specific economic demands, Campaigns are need around GEAR, Social Equity, the RDP, Smash the Monopolies, Stop Privatisation, Job cuts etc.

    3.20. Transforming the rest of society

    Having talked about the centrality national question in the current phase of the transition, we must also emphasise the need to transform gender relations at work, home and in the broader society. Women need to be empowered at every level, but also specifically through such things as the provision of child-care facilities, specialised institutions to deal with the security of women in society, and to provide education and training for women to empower them in the labour market.

    3.21. The social and economic of women needs to be addressed. The alliance needs to develop clear strategies that deal with gender related issues such as the social water, unpaid labour, patriarchal state practice - e.g. social oppression through religion and cultural practices and the fact that women give birth leading to many other assumptions about the responsibilities women have. Specific policies and educational campaign are needed to change attitudes and practices. We also need to highlight the positive contribution that women make and the strength that women can bring to the alliance and to society, if hey are liberated from their oppression and enabled to play a full role.

    3.22. Racism is still an ugly feature of our society. The unions must lead an anti-racism campaign so that our society is rid of this obscene remnant of apartheid. We should not shy away from this issue even if it offends those seeking compromise - the can be no accommodation with racism. Also we should tackle any negative views or images put about to undermine any ethnic group, from whatever source - including within the trade union.

    3.23. Children need to be accorded the rights they have in the constitution and empowered as citizens in their heir own right.

    3.24. Senior citizens need to be given resources and facilities, allowed to participate fully in all areas of life. The unions need to lead this by providing a form of associate membership to retired members, as well as creating clubs and facilities that specifically provide for the senior citizens of our society.

    3.25. Those people who are mentally or physically challenged, or who suffer from life threatening illnesses such as HIV and AIDS are usually an embarrassment to us or are hidden away in society. These people need to be part of society, as full citizens, with work opportunities and all the other aspects of life that are granted in the constitution. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation should be campaigned against. Gay and lesbian workers are entitled to human rights in general. As workers, they should be entitled to worker rights too. The unions must lead the fight for this kind of transformation.

4. Organisational Strategy

    4.1. Trade Union Sectors, COSATU, and the September Commission.

    The ability of the working class to transform South Africa into a socialist country is dependent on a strong, united and effective Trade Union movement. It is important that we critically examine the COSATU structures, as well as those of Unions and our approach to the merger processes.

    4.2. COSATU was established using the slogan "One Country One Federation, One Industry One Union", and this remains the goal of the federation. It has been successfully implemented in some industries. The most significant failure in implementation has been in the public sector, where the process was to be lead by merger of NEHAWU and SAMWU. The two Unions have agreed that there should be another look and this time consider all the unions in the public sector. This policy decision coincides with the final stages of the September Commission established by COSATU, which is looking at a range of issues, including structures. The report has thrown up a number of options for the Federation. We do believe that these are not easy options but need to be confronted if we must continue to be relevant under the new environment that we are operating in.

    We therefore propose the following option;

    The establishment of key broadly defined sectors within the Federation i.e. Manufacturing, Mining and Energy, Public Sector, Private Sector Services, Agriculture. These sectors should be organised into Cartels that should take responsibility for defining sector policy, take responsibility for collective bargaining and set parameters for all other union work of national competence. In this scenario the current affiliates will evolve to become new sub-sectors of the Cartel. We strongly believe that this will assist the unity and merger processes that are so key to the founding principles of the Federation.

    4.3. There can be no doubt that the structures of the unions need streamlining. We will be more efficient, more effective, more able to influence the ANC, the government and the employers. And of course we would have a much greater chance of intervening effectively in the transformation of the state structures and the society. Unless action is taken competition between unions is inevitable and this cannot be in the interest of workers.

    There should also be an examination of why other mergers have failed and others have been successful, so that lessons can be learned and progress made. There is no point in ignoring real problems that exist, such as fundamental political differences. On the other hand we should try to resolve these differences in the interests of the workers.

    In adopting this proposal we need to establish agreed principles, such as equality of service, worker control and effective guarantees on participation of members in the structures, including powerful and effective substructures. Where resources are allocated within the structures will be an indicator of the importance attached to the various levels and departments. Centralized bargaining should be the agreed aim, with appropriate flexibility to negotiate locally on agreed issues.

    The most important principles in relation to the unions in this restructuring is to ensure that whatever options are decided upon the following is the outcome;

    worker control is strengthened

    services to members improve

    there is less bureaucracy not more

    workers are taken along in the process

    4.4 The role of COSATU

    If the transformation process is to be carried through in the interests of workers, then COSATU will need to have a more significant role than it does at present. The Federation has a crucial role in defending democratic and constitutional gains, keeping the ANC, and the government to its commitments and mobilising the whole of the working class to achieve our Socialist goals. The Federation will play an important and active role in coordinating the activities of the sectors and handling the negotiations that cut across sectors such as those in NEDLAC and with government. For the Federation to be able to do this its current structures must be reshaped to allow it to play a central role in the transformation of our society. This should allow the Federation to have more oversight on issues not only affecting the employed workers but the working class as a whole. This will require more resources and certain powers to be concentrated in the Federation to able to intervene effectively in the sectors both in terms of enforcing Federation policy and assisting weaker sectors. To achieve this we propose the following;

    That the National congress continue to be the highest body which meets every five years ( this has an important connection to the general election in terms of the general direction the country should take ), a new policy formulating structure called CC with Central Executive Committee that has strong regional and sector involvement, and a National Executive Committee that is representative but manageable and acts as a management structure. The same would apply at a regional level.

    The National Office Bearers should include:

    Þ President

    Þ Deputy Presidents from each Sector

    General Secretary

    We support a system of full time release from work for office bearers as a means of maintaining worker control and ensuring that the Office Bearers have the time to do their defined jobs. There has to be a quota system that ensures a gender balance at all levels. Resources are needed for COSATU locals, so that they are effective and democratic as their role would increase in a restructured federation as towns and local government is likely to play a more important role in the formulation and implementation of economic policies. Projects such as Masakhane and participatory budgeting will require very strong locals to engage with.

    The route that we take at a political level should still be geared at maximising the unity of South African workers. This means that although our political role as COSATU is being consolidated, we should still strive for "One country, One federation". It is clear that as we argue for a more political role within the Alliance, the possibility of achieving this goal becomes more remote. Both FEDUSA and NACTU will feel more uncomfortable with a COSATU that continues to have strong ties with the ANC and the SACP. We should strive to master how we can achieve worker unity, without diluting our ideological content and vision. The Federation should take practical steps towards uniting workers of our country under one Federation. Whilst we believe that the question of political alignment and unity of workers should not be counterposed, we must emphasise that the Federation needs a frank and open discussion on this matter.

5. Conclusion

Cognisant of the Special EXCO’ s decision, we do believe that the issues raised by September are very important and varied. It could therefore be helpful to further clarify, fine-tune and think through how this process will be managed at Congress.

We will take the opportunity of further submitting other specific proposals consistent with this Framework.

Power to the Working Class!

Socialism is the Future, Build it Now!

Socialism is the Answer, Transformation is the Way!

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