JOHANNESBURG, August 21 -The SA Federation of Trade Unions’ plan to have at least a million members by the end of the year is not an easy task, its president Mac Chavalala warned at the national executive committee meeting in Johannesburg.
“Much of the political discussion we have will have been just hot air, unless we organise, recruit and mobilise workers of South Africa on to the streets to fight and win the demands we adopt at meetings like these,” Chavalala told the NEC members on Monday.
“The provincial report backs have in general been good but let’s be frank to ourselves comrades…they haven’t created the necessary wave. They have begun a process a necessary of building from the bottom up. We will never recruit 300,000 more members by the end of the year from an office in Johannesburg, important though that is.”
The federation was launched in April with a membership of 700,000. Its formation came as a result of the expulsion of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and Zwelinzima Vavi from the Congress of SA Trade Union (Cosatu).
Vavi was Cosatu secretary general and was elected to the same position by Saftu delegates.
Saftu plans to recruit 300,000 more workers by December in the highly politically charged environment, having distanced itself from political affiliation but the protection of workers’ rights.
Chavalala said the organisation needed to sort itself out before it could realise the goal of successfully recruiting workers from shop floors.
“The number of phone calls, social media messages and visits to union offices by workers desperate to get organised shows how necessary these tasks are. If, however, we are to meet this challenge, we have first to organise ourselves, sort out our finances, pay our affiliation fees in full and on time…and unite affiliates working in the same sectors around the slogan Unity is Strength,” he said.
“We must emerge with targets that are ambitious, but also realistic, practical, and formulate detailed tactical plans for meeting those targets.”
Cosatu is the country’s biggest trade union federation with over 1.2 million members, while the Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) membership is at 550,000.
– African News Agency (ANA)