Shopfloor: Invest in your future, elect a leader!

The term of office of all Numsa shop stewards comes to an end in September 2003. From September 22 to the end of November 2003, Numsa will run shop steward elections across the country. New shop stewards will hold office until 2007.

These shop steward elections come at a time when we are faced with complex issues like job losses, casualisation, the massive introduction of labour brokers at the workplace.

As workers we need to think before we elect shop stewards. The time for us to elect shop stewards who speak English eloquently is over. We must elect shop stewards that understand the dynamics of the industry that we work in, that understand the political environment at a national level, on our continent and the influence of neo-liberalism. When you elect shop stewards this time, elect those that can deal with these complex issues.

The election of new shop stewards doesn't mean that we can't re-elect the current shop stewards. Continuity is very, very important. A completely new shop steward committee might not understand how things were done in the past and how things are supposed to be carried out.

All those shop stewards that you elect must commit themselves to work for the constituencies that have elected them. They must also commit themselves to struggles that will not end in the locker room. Their struggles must go beyond the factory gates into their communities. The two cannot be separated.

Our industry used to be a male-dominated industry. Now things are changing. More women are employed in the industry. Do not exclude women from standing for elections. Give priority to female shop stewards who are capable and who have been capable in the past.

Remember one of our union's principles is non-sexism. By ensuring that we have women shop stewards, we will be following one of our union's key principles.


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