Numsa big-belly laugh!

Leading from the trenchesJohnny Copelyn and Marcel Golding, some of the labour movement's own millionaires, were paid a tidy package last year by their company Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI).As Executive Directors of HCI they each earned R1.37m as their basic wage.

Their bonuses amounted to R480 000 each. This was in a year that the company recorded losses of R341m with the share price losing 44% of its value.Clearly they were taking their lead from Daimler Chrysler where despite share prices falling by 39% last year, the average base pay of its 13 management board members more than doubled from 1.7 euros (R17 million) to 3.9 euros (R39 million)!The only difference between HCI and Daimler Chrysler was that the latter returned to profitability during the year in question.

And how did it do that – we don’t know. But could the shutting of six Chrysler factories in the US and the shedding of those 26 000 jobs have anything to do with it?

Stats SA under attackStas SA has been in the wars recently. First, someone from Investec proved that their CPI-X figures were incorrect. Stats SA then announced that it would review them.

When they finally lowered the inflation rate by 1%, it led to disputes and threatened disputes in annual wage bargaining rounds. Employers hung onto the new rates and trade unions hung onto the old rates!

It even prompted auto employers to demand that workers take a 1% cut below CPI-X to make up for Stats SA's mistakes. Only when Numsa pointed out that manufacturers should then go to those that had bought cars in the last six months and offer to reduce their payments by 1% because of the reduction in CPI-X, did employers withdraw their demand!But Stats SA's woes were not over.

When they released census figures, these showed that the official unemployment rate had jumped from 29.5% to 41.6%. Pali Lehohla, the statistician general of Stats SA, was quick to point out that different definitions of unemployment and different questions asked in the census led to these discrepancies.

In case you didn't know, according to one of Stats SA definition's, a parking attendant who relies on the generosity of motorists for coins, is "employed".

Mantashe – the poetNational Union of Mineworkers’ (Num) Gwede Mantashe always prides himself on being multi-skilled. But not once did Num’s general secretary reveal that amongst the many things that he is capable of, he is an expert in verse.

Recent statements have shown that Rissik Street’s “big chief” has strong poetic traits. During this year’s wage negotiations, Mantashe categorically stated that “mineworkers can no longer open their chests to the brutality of dust and maiming rocks while their wives bathe their infants in tears and feed them on crumbsâ€.

Powerful imagery mbongi yaseMaqwathini. Keep it up!

Another nickname for Jeff RadebeWorkers have again shown their ingenuity. The target is again the poor Minister of Public Enterprises, Jeff Radebe. Having been the target of scorn during Cosatu’s anti-privatisation campaign, the minister has again spurred workers’ creativity.

Angered by the announcement to fast-track the Durban port’s concessioning, South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) members started talking about Jeff “Sales More” Radebe.

Clearly, the “Mr. Wholesale” title was not reflective enough of “this comrade's strategic roleâ€.


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