Change is often resisted. With organisational renewal now in full swing, we bring you some shop stewards’ views on the unfolding process. Write in and give us your views..
Old dogs undermine young lions!
At times the tendency among the old shop stewards can be destructive to the young shop stewards. Particularly where the decision was taken during the absence of the shop stewards. There is a tendency from the shop stewards to question the leadership as to where was the mandate taken. As shop stewards we should understand that when one is absent from the (Local Shop Steward) Council, one’s absence does not equate with the non-availability of the membership to give a mandate. This tendency was dominant during the process of organisational renewal (OR). Prior to the implementation of OR, there were consultative meetings that were held and even some workshops. But when the leadership was now implementing OR to the shop stewards it was as if it was a new thing. The different expressions from the shop stewards were dominated by perceptions. And of course perceptions were not good enough to be advanced as reasons. One must agree that change is pain but we must support change. OR must also go hand in hand with the renewal of the mindset. For Numsa to meet the challenges of globalisation it must change. One will agree that Numsa in the ’80s was faced with different challenges compared with the current challenges of the 21st century. What it means is that the 21st century will need a different strategy as compared to the ’80s. To the shop stewards and the organisers who are not supporting these changes of the OR, it is informed by the vision of the future challenges that come with globalisation. As revolutionaries we must be able to tell the details of our struggle. As visionaries/ revolutionaries we must be able to interpret the present and predict the future. Then we will be able to take informed decisions that will meet the future challenges. And this is what Numsa is trying to do in 15 years of its existence. Let us remember the failures and the success of this process will be our responsibility. Remember when the other mission of the struggle is achieved the other one is created and it will require a different strategy. Shop stewards let us not resist change but support it. To the leadership, you are elected to lead and the leadership must be the visionaries of the future.
David Selepe, Hi-Fi Car Radio shop steward, Kempton Park local
Bring ideas, don’t throw stones!
One believes that this mighty metalworkers giant union in Southern Africa , if not in the whole of the African continent, has got an aim of achieving something. Some of us have different views but I think let’s all be optimistic about this approach which will lead metalworkers to a new dimension. All what we are doing, I believe, is not for a short but a long term process which will benefit future generations. Most of us were toddlers or not even born when the late president Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and other former African presidents initiated the formation of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU). I think those efforts now are showing signs of yielding some fruit through the African Union (AU). So comrades my humble appeal to all Numsa members is to be co-operative rather than be destructive. The action of destroying what we have already achieved and built is no different from the Askaris. The objective, I believe, is to see metalworkers being liberated from ideas of colonialism so that they can initiate and fulfill that objective. The disturbing thing is that those certain individuals are pouring cold water on whatever the leadership which was elected constitutionally is coming up with as a step of making the organisation efficient in servicing the membership. It is crazy that these individuals are embarking on a campaign of destroying Numsa just because they were there when this giant union was formed. Comrades should just cease from sowing the seeds of division. I believe that there is no room for extremists within Numsa operations. The ill-conceived actions and statements won’t take us anywhere. If some of us are negative about the organisation we are working for, or that we are members of, then we must scrutinise our own grey matter. Numsa is a democratic organisation which believes in worker-controlled guided ideas. People must come with alternatives rather than throwing stones which don’t differ from the actions of renegades. To perpetuate this style of not respecting even our own constitution, resembles exactly the way rebels operate. My view is for Numsa leadership to advance the idea of transforming this union in to an efficient organisation from the factory to the head office. The extremists must co-operate and push this organisational renewal campaign as they won’t succeed with their tricks except perhaps in planet Mars. I regard those who do not respect the policies that they have formulated as traitors of our struggle. I do agree that we won’t view issues on the same wavelength but that doesn’t justify the actions of anyone to derail the operation of the organisation because of self interest. To use workers to advance certain individuals narrow orchestrated actions or objectives is ridiculous. Numsa is an organisaiton with a vision – unlike George Bush who is just greedy for resources. To defy or ignore our own policies and progressive initiatives is no different from George Bush hunting Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein who are unfortunately the American products. I also believe Numsa as a democratic organisation can’t at any stage suppress any individual’s views but there are structures for that, not corridors. For any individual who suggests that Numsa must be led by blocks that is suicidal. My sincere appeal again is – let’s raise our concerns in the proper structures. But not from blocks or concerned groups which are disruptive. That doesn’t differ from the rebel groups who do not respect human life as long as their self interests are not achieved. To workers beware of those cunning wolves in sheepskins who are using you as their digging tools.
Stanford Ndoba Scaw Metals shop steward, Wadeville