The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) held a special Central Committee (CC) meeting yesterday, Thursday August 29, 2013, at Vincent Mabuyakhulu Conference Centre (VMCC), Newtown, Johannesburg, Gauteng province.
The CC was convened by the National Office Bearers (NOBs') to respond to urgent political and organisational issues confronting Numsa, our Federation - Cosatu and the broader liberation Alliance led by the African National Conference (ANC). The CC was attended by all duly elected CC members, and it was extended to our Bargaining representatives in the auto manufacturing sector and motor retail sector.
The CC had a comradely and robust engagements and deliberations on the following issues;
Public attacks directed towards Numsa by the ANC Secretary General and the SACP General Secretary during the POPCRU Political School;
The National Alliance Summit
Preparations for the NUMSA special National Congress scheduled for December 13 - 16, 2013;
COSATU's paralysis and the unfolding legal process opposing the suspension of COSATU General Secretary cde Zwelinzima Vavi;
The settlement or continuation of the automobile (car manufacturers) strike as per mandate from workers;
State of readiness for the motor industry strike (petrol stations; components; auto aftermarket; car dealerships; panel-beaters etc) planned for the month of September 2013;
The CC was taking place within the context of ongoing workers' struggles in the auto sector for equal redistribution of wealth at the point of production in line with popular aspirations of the Freedom Charter; the ongoing unhidden political onslaught to isolate Numsa from Cosatu and the broader liberation Alliance; and the dirty tactics being applied by certain leaders of Cosatu and some affiliate's leaders to remove Cosatu's General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, from his elected position.
1. Public attacks directed towards Numsa by the ANC Secretary General and the SACP General Secretary during the POPCRU Political School;
The Numsa Central Committee noted with serious concern that the recent Popcru political school was used by the ANC Secretary General and the SACP General Secretary to launch a factional attack on Numsa.
The democratic right of Numsa to convene a Special National Congress to review what is happening with respect to the crises in Cosatu, the ANC's adoption of the NDP in Mangaung and the forthcoming 2014 elections, was rubbished by these two senior leaders of the national Liberation Movement with all sorts of insinuations and threats made against Numsa and its leadership.
More disappointing is the fact that our Vanguard who is meant to unite the working class has taken a sectarian and factional approach to the crises in Cosatu. Numsa has received a written request from the SACP for a bilateral with the Numsa. Our Central Committee is not averse to such a meeting but we wish to prepare properly for such an engagement including assessing why we would be attacked by the SACP General Secretary but on the same platform requesting an engagement with Numsa.
In the coming week Numsa shall release a very detailed response to the sentiments expressed by the ANC SG and SACP GS tracing the origins and reasons for the insults made against Numsa.
2. The National Alliance Summit
In the meeting of former Cosatu leaders, current Cosatu National Office Bearers, Affiliate Presidents and General Secretaries held on Monday 26th August 2013 Cosatu affiliates unanimously mandated the Cosatu NOB to secure a postponement of the Summit from Alliance partners on the basis that Cosatu's own preparations had been hampered by the failure of the Alliance task teams to execute the task on different subject matters.
The Numsa Special Central Committee held on 29th August 2013 noted the above and directed Numsa National Office Bearers to tender an apology to Cosatu for our inability to form part of the Cosatu delegation to the National Alliance Summit on the basis that the Numsa NOB need to pay attention to resolving the Auto National Industry Strike, engage with Eskom management and prepare for our impending strike in the Motor retail and components industry which scheduled to take off in September 2013. In correspondence received from the Cosatu DGS we noted that a number of affiliates would be unable to join the Cosatu delegation due to organisational work.
3. Preparations for the NUMSA Special National Congress scheduled for December 13 - 16, 2013;
The Central Committee received a report from the National Office Bearers on the work being done to convene the Numsa Special National Congress on 13-16 December 2013. The following themes shall guide the Numsa Special National Congress;
The challenges confronting the Alliance
Challenges confronting the labour movement and reclaiming COSATU as an independent, militant, revolutionary, fighting and campaigning federation.
NUMSA's approach to 2014 elections
Positioning NUMSA as a shield and spear of struggling workers
Adoption of a draft NUMSA Service Charter
Update on Numsa's Campaign for Sustainable Industrialisation as an Engine of Growth - (Section 77 campaign)
The roadmap towards the Numsa Special National Congress would involve;
A Numsa National Political School to launch the Numsa Marxist Leninist School and provincial Mbuyiselo Ngwenda Brigades - 13 to 18 September 2013
Convening Local Policy Workshops, Regional Policy Workshops and National Policy Workshop to consider Special National Congress discussion documents
COSATU's paralysis and the unfolding legal process opposing the suspension of COSATU General Secretary Comrade Zwelinzima Vavi;
The Numsa Special Central Committee held on 29th August 2013 mandated the Numsa National Office Bearers to legally challenge the unconstitutional convening of a Special Cosatu CEC on 14th August 2013 and subsequent unlawful suspension of the democratically elected Cosatu General Secretary. The Numsa National Office Bearers has set in motion the legal processes and shall comment more fully thereon in due cause.
4. The settlement or continuation of the automobile (car manufacturers) strike as per mandate from workers;
Numsa members employed in the car manufacturing industry have entered the second week of strike action. The Numsa Central Committee deliberated on a possible settlement of the auto industry strike and in that regard developed permutations which have been shared with the auto employers on the evening of 29th August 2013. Numsa has indicated the preparedness of our National Office Bearers and auto bargaining team to engage with employers over the weekend in an endeavor to settle the impasse in the industry. The Numsa Central Committee resolved that feedback sessions would be convened with striking Numsa members in the auto industry on Monday 2nd September 2013 with a view to communicate the Numsa CC developed terms for a settlement. As we speak the strike continues until a settlement is signed off.
5. State of readiness for the motor industry strike (petrol stations; components; auto aftermarket; car dealerships; panel-beaters etc.) planned for the month of September 2013;
Since April 2013, Numsa has been negotiating with Fuel Retailers Association (FRA) and Retail Motor Industry (RMI) employers to improve wages, conditions of employment and benefits. The motor industry employers do business in the following sectors: petrol stations; component manufacturers; auto aftermarket; car dealerships; panel-beaters, etc. A mediated process came to an end on 28th August 2013 with no significant improvement to write home about. The current deadlock stands as follows;
The FRA made a final offer of 9.5% increase for garage workers and later withdrew it and reduced it to 7% because Numsa refused to settle on those terms;
The RMI offer is as follows:
Wages: 6.5% increase on minimum guaranteed monetary value in all Sectors except Chapter 3. Chapter 3 increase of 5.5% on Actuals.
They are withdrawing all employer demands
They are demanding that Numsa withdraw all other demands;
The current duration, cycle, wage model and extension of the Agreement must apply.
They will not review this offer until NUMSA's wage proposal is in single digit.
The Numsa Central Committee resolved that strike action is inevitable in view of the fact that employers are intransigent to resolve the impasse and the fact that the 3-year Motor Industry Main Agreement comes to an end.
The Numsa National Office Bearers were mandated by the Central Committee to undertake the following interventions;
Embark on further engagement with employer organizations on 5-6 September 2013 in an endeavor to find an industry settlement;
Should the meetings of 5-6 September 2013 not yield any results, then strike action shall commence on 9th September 2013
6. Eskom deadlock
The wage dispute in Eskom is now proceeding to arbitration on 25th September 2013. Numsa members in Eskom are resolute to stage pickets and work stoppages to demonstrate their unhappiness with the arrogance of the Eskom management. As is known Eskom is classified as an essential services company.
Our demand for the distribution of wealth at the point of production shall be extended to confront government for re-industrialisation, redistribution of wealth and the fullest implementation of the Freedom Charter.
Irvin Jim, NUMSA General Secretary, 0731576384
Karl Cloete, NUMSA Deputy General Secretary, 0833890777