Writing: Spreading the Union Gospel

Numsa regularly publishes Numsa News and Numsa Bulletin to communicate with members and stimulate debate. But spreading the union gospel is not cheap. Numsa News costs around R1 a copy and Numsa Bulletin R6 a copy.

In addition a pool of writers participate in a “writers frenzy” about three times a year. The ‘frenzy’ allows writers the time, space and resources to fully research and write their stories. In total Numsa spends well over half a million a year – about R675 000 to be precise, bringing news and views to its members.

But are our publications achieving their objectives? Is it ‘money well spent’?

“The publications keep us informed of events in the union and we use some of the information at our general meetings,” says Makhosi Zungu from Hesto Harness in Isithebe, KZN.

“We also learn about socialism and not just labour related matters, like wage negotiations or disputes. Sometimes there are interesting articles about HIV/Aids and this information is educational. I like the idea about writing to the editor. It gives members and shopstewards a chance to air their views and stimulate discussion on a number of important issues affecting us as workers.”

“I enjoy reading Numsa News and the Bulletin,” says Stanley Mthembu from Smiths Manufacturing in Pinetown. “Updates on wage negotiations and company disputes, not just the ones in our sector are important to follow – we can learn from the struggles of other comrades.”

“Our organisation has made tremendous strides by producing its own newspaper and magazine,” says Numsa President, Mtutuzeli Tom. “Over and above that, we have produced our own writers and this must be commended. Writing is not the same as minute taking because it involves research on topics.

“We must continue with these publications. We must use them as another form of communicating with members outside the constitutional structures. They must afford members the opportunity to raise their views.”