By Tebogo Mhlanga
The former general secretary of COSATU Zwelinzima Vavi addressed the collective bargaining of the National Union of Metalworks of South Africa (NUMSA) on Saturday at Oliver Tambo Conference Centre, in Boksburg. The theme was to “end the economy for the 1%, secure our jobs on a living wage”.
Zwelinzima Vavi was recently found not guilty on the charges of reckless or negligent driving and speeding by the Edenvale magistrate court on Wednesday.
Vavi said NUMSA has continued to be an inspiration to workers far and wide and it was courageous to tell the truth on the policies persuaded by the ANC government increasing poverty, opportunities of corruption, unemployment and de-industrialisation.
“We are witnessing a crude social engineering of our society to produce workers who will take any thing that is thrown to them by the employers, even if it means that you trample on your brother and sister in the process.”
Vavi said NUMSA is absolutely correct to defend what it established and not allowing employers to return to a free for all especially when many workers are anxious about their job security.
The quarterly labour force survey by the Statistics South Africa on wages are determined even though its findings are based on self reporting. He hopes the bargaining conference will be able to address the issue on the 61.3 % since 28,7 % of wages are set by the intervention of a union.
Vavi believes that the NUMSA has a crucial role to play in sharing its experience of bargaining within the new federation.
“Our historic task, as revolutionaries, as socialists, as militant trade unionists is to seize the opportunity to provide a vibrant leadership that is capable of reaching out to the 7.4m workers in the formal sector who remain unorganised. ” he said.
We have to reach out to the unemployed and give them hope and organisation through the United Front and other means by making sure the Jobs Campaign to be launched on May Day is a success” he added.