Management has a clear strategy to render shopstewards ineffectual. Keep the stewards busy discussing petty issues. Let them deal with dismissals when management is busy bringing in funny concepts such as outsourcing, downsizing and productivity improvement. If you do this, then as management you are guaranteed to hear workers' voices – we do not know what these stewards are doing?
These days it is very seldom to hear the union calling meetings to pursue our agenda. But management is always calling meetings. In these meetings management's interest is the order of the day. Management makes it difficult for our shopfloor leaders to develop clear programmes on improving our members' situation.
Comrades if you want to avoid the above situation:
Sit down with your constituencies and develop programmes in which members can participate. Embark on a programme of action to educate members so that we can reduce dismissals.
Once you do this, then the union will be in a position to have a clear programme to engage management on issues of interest and social responsibilities for our members.
If we begin to discuss social responsibility issues, take mandates seriously and respect decision of our members, we would never experience problems such as petitions, harassment of stewards through loss of confidence and non-attendance in union meetings.
Numsa VWSA shopsteward committee administrator