On Sunday NUMSA general secretary, Irvin Jim, decided to ratchet things up a bit in his little spat with BMW. He suggested that BMW was "blackmailing" South Africa in deciding not to consider the country as a site for new investment.
The reason for BMW's decision, said Jim, was the fact that his union, in going on strike, had cost BMW billions in production. In other words, vehicles that would have been made here had not, and jobs had been lost as a result. What's going on speaks volumes about NUMSA's place in the world right now.
We have said before that in South Africa's slightly bizarre Alliance-based democratic system, we need Cosatu to save us from the ANC's corruption, and the ANC to save us from Cosatu's economics.
No one exemplifies the (former) trade union federation's Marxist view of the world better than Jim. He is one of those who really do seem to believe that making a profit is murder, that all property is theft and that private schools must be closed, along with private hospitals.
In other words, to sell one's labour through a mutually beneficial agreement with someone else is really wrong, unless...