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Trade Union news

AMCU to appeal judgment declaring Mathunjwa’s election as president invalid

The Association of Mining and Construction Workers’ Union (AMCU) says it will appeal the judgment in the labour court that found the election of Joseph Mathunjwa as president in 2019, to be “unlawful, unconstitutional and invalid”.

Acting judge Sandile Mabaso found that at the time of the 2019 elective conference, Mathunjwa was not employed by a company thus making him ineligible to stand for the position of president.

Mathunjwa claims that since he was a member in good standing at the time, he could therefore contest the position.

Nkosikho Joni, former AMCU deputy president, who was elected at the same conference, took the matter to court after the Union expelled him in 2020.

LIMUSA swallowed up by NUM

Breakaway union, the Liberated Metalworkers Union of SA (LIMUSA) has merged with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

LIMUSA broke away from NUMSA in 2014 after a special NUMSA national congress in December 2013 had resolved to “call on COSATU to break from the Alliance” and to instead establish a United Front.

NUMSA president at the time, Cedric Gina, took some NUMSA members with him to form LIMUSA. It was soon accepted as an affiliate of COSATU after COSATU expelled NUMSA for its alliance stance.

STRIKES

Clover workers stand firm

About 4000 Clover workers across the country have been on strike since November 22. Members of the Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU) and the General Industries Workers Union of South Africa (Giwusa), they are striking against the company’s restructuring plans.

These aim to save the company R300 million in labour costs. The company wants to retrench several hundred workers, cut pay by 20%, introduce a six-day work week with compulsory work on public holidays and reduce the number of workers who offload dairy products to one per truck. More jobs could go if the company goes ahead with its plans to relocate one plant and close down three factories.

Meanwhile two days into the strike management announced that only non-striking workers would receive their 13th cheque.

“If we accept the 20% salary cut, please tell me, how much are we going to be left with after monthly deductions from our pay? Nothing!”  a worker told New Frame.

NUMSA settles after three-week engineering strike

Despite restrictions imposed by Covid-19, NUMSA pulled off a well-supported strike that culminated in the workers winning a 6% increase for lower grade workers and 5% for high grades for the first year of a three-year agreement. These increases are on the scheduled rates of pay. Those earning above the scheduled rates will receive a rands and cents amount equivalent to the amount payable on the scheduled rate.

The parties will push for the agreement to be extended to cover all workplaces that fall under the sector.

NUMSA’s engineering members march through the streets of Johannesburg during their 3-week strike
(Pic: NUMSA)
 

Key decisions of NEHAWU’s 12th National Congress

Sandra Hlungwani spoke to acting NEHAWU spokesperson, Lwazi Nkolozi, to find out about the recent 12th National Congress of NEHAWU

CONGRESS RESOLUTIONS:

·     NEHAWU calls on COSATU, and SACP, to move with speed in practicalising the joint commitment to building the Left Popular Front to lead struggles of the working class and rural masses for land, housing, water, sanitation, basic income grant and general service delivery struggles.

·  Congress resolved on the urgent need for the union to campaign for a developmental state that is fundamental based on a progressive model of development capable of driving our transformational agenda which amongst others includes; changing the semi-colonial economic structure, change the neo-liberal economic trajectory, and develop a systematic central planning to coordinated government action around economic priorities that would enhance economic growth and socioeconomic development around a medium-term plan.

·  Congress strongly rejected any attempts of agencification, unbundling, privatisation of ESKOM and other state entities and called for rolling mass-actions and the establishment of anti-privatisation broad front.

·  Congress resolved on strengthening workplace organisation to remain the central focus for the national union in light of the total onslaught on collective bargaining and workers’ rights by the government and employer across the sectors that we organise

·  Congress resolved to continue working hard to transform the healthcare and post-education school sectors.

·  COVID VACCINES—Vaccines have been proven to be safe and provide protection against severe illness, death and hospitalisation. As NEHAWU we fully support the vaccination programme by government but not at the expense of people’s constitutional rights.

Our Constitution protects and guarantees the individual right to bodily integrity under Section 12(2)] and also in Section 15 which protects their right to freedom of religion, belief and opinion. All South Africans have a choice to either vaccinate or not based on their individual reasons, be they medical or constitutional.

FEDUSA to hold Special National Congress

FEDUSA’s special national congress will take place on December 6 2021 at Lakeside Hotel, Benoni and deal with outstanding issues from their October congress. More info contact Frank Nxumalo – 072 637 8096

 

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Workers strike in the US

More than 10 000 workers at agricultural equipment manufacturer, John Deere, went on a 5-week strike in October for the first time since 1986 to demand improved wages and working conditions.

With reports of record company profits, workers sought to get some reward and recognition for their almost two years of risking their lives working in the midst of the pandemic.

Theirs was not the only strike. Thousands of workers in other companies (Kelloggs) and in other states across the US have also been on strike buoyed by a shortage of workers and a realisation that their hard work is not being adequately rewarded.

“Workers are on strike for a better deal and a better life,” Liz Shuler, president of the AFL-CIO, the nation’s biggest labor federation, said.

Meanwhile “68% of Americans now approve of unions” – the highest percentage since 1965. 78% of those aged 18 to 29 are in favour of unions.

COP 26

Climate culprits must stand up and be counted at COP26!

Valli Moosa, deputy chairman of the Presidential Climate Commission, had a strong message for delegates at COP26. Perhaps the promise of R131bn funds by some western countries was in response to this?

“Our atmosphere has been ravaged in the name of money. The rich and powerful have consumed our common atmosphere without paying for it. Taking what does not belong to you in plain language is called theft. The burning of oil and coal without paying for the resulting emissions has been one of the biggest drivers of economies in modern times. Therefore, much of the wealth of rich countries has been the result of the proceeds of crime, the crime of expropriating common property for private gain, the crime of destroying nature. We expect the climate culprits to stand up and be counted at COP 26, we expect them to show remorse, we expect them to tell the world exactly what they intend to do to right the wrongs which they have committed.” Valli Moosa.

Waste Pickers Launch Greenhouse Gas Calculator Tool at COP26

As world leaders considered concrete actions and climate finance mechanisms at COP 26, WIEGO launched the new Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Calculator 2.0. Watch the launch event where waste pickers and researchers explain how the calculator works, and how organizations are already using it to quantify how they’re helping mitigate climate change.

For example, in 2020, waste pickers from Colombia’s Association of Recyclers of Bogotá (ARB) prevented the emissions of over 407 thousand tons of CO2 equivalent (eCO2), while India’s SWaCH Cooperative mitigated the emissions of more than 211 tons of CO2. Taken together, the avoided emissions are equivalent to removing a total of 133 thousand passenger cars from the road each year.

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Jenny Grice and Sandra Hlungwani
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