Keeping your shop steward on track

Numsa members have been electing shop stewards since September last year. They will hold office for the next four years. Cedric Gina spoke to Numsa President, Mtutuzeli Tom, to find out how you can keep your shop steward on track.

What is the recourse of members in case the shop steward is not performing according to their expectations? Workers must find out why this comrade is not performing up to their expectations. If there are possible solutions to assist the comrade to perform, then provide those.

What does the constitution say? It might be dangerous to use the constitutional provisions immediately because if the shop steward is struggling to perform without being given support or a mentoring base, then in future no-one will want to become a shop steward. People will fear that, ‘if I fail I will be kicked out. There is no process that workers will put in place to assist me to build on my weaknesses so I can be strong and continue doing work.’

But if the reason the shop steward is not performing is really an issue that cannot be tolerated in an organisation, like for instance one who is unable to behave in a manner expected of a shop steward, then that is an organisational problem. We cannot continue to shoulder such a comrade in the organisation because we do not have time to teach him/her how to behave. We believe if workers elect someone, it means that they have seen that this particular individual understands what is required of him, therefore workers can make him their leader.