Congress: Making your voice heard

The World Trade Organisation must transform itself to address the burning issue of agricultural subsidies in the developed world and structural adjustment programmes imposed on African countries that together have damaged African economies. Delegates supported exports to and investments in the African continent.

…in the south west

Mirriam Makhalamele

At Numsa’s Western Transvaal region, different tasks were accomplished by high debating by different commissions on organisational, collective bargaining, socio economic, international and political.

Out of these debates resolutions were formulated that will guide Numsa for the next four years.

The determination of participants was to say "lets’ change for the best in the interests of the working class in this country, metal workers in particular".


The cry of workers in this country is to let workers in other parts of the world enjoy the same benefits that we do. Laws in those countries do not protect their workers.

Challenges are such that they need a strategic transformation or restructuring of the ICFTU.


There should be no reduction in the sittings of National Executive Committees and Central Committees as this will undermine democratic principles and worker control. More powers should be vested in regions through regular meetings and representation in national structures.

A vigorous debate around election of the regional secretary and the eligibility for the position emerged. The constitution is silent for now as to what happens if the regional secretary is not re-elected and whether upon election as regional secretary, this position is only for four years or goes beyond this period.

Collective Bargaining

The question of training was the name of the game through the slogan "train to empower and empower through training".

Through tactics like lean production or just-in-time, bosses still get a bigger share. What about workers? Their wage increases still remain below the inflation rate and their wages below poverty measures.

Strategic dismissals are mushrooming in establishments where and when workers fight for transformation to improve their living conditions and for job security.

Companies / unions as part of conditions of employment must train peer educators and support groups on HIV/Aids within their companies to become activists. Counseling facilities must be established and workers to have easy access to them.

The union should have a national gender programme with resources to ensure implementation.

The union should negotiate a full-time health and safety representative that will stimulate awareness, educate workers and ensure that companies adhere to legislation. Agents from the Department of Labour must be empowered to enforce existing legislation.

Political – "Socialism the workers’ destiny"

The debate centered around the advancement of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR). The formation of blocks through socialist forums and youth commission leagues are essential at this juncture.


The present worker unfriendly economic strategy (GEAR) must be replaced by one to be formulated by Cosatu and the workers vanguard (SACP) – an industrial strategy around RDP delivery.

Transformation of the society based on human values that the apartheid system destroyed, must be instilled.

What workers in this country seek to achieve is the Freedom Charter that says the people shall govern, and Now is the time.

Nobody else but the metalworkersof South Africa must lead all processes of change and remain the catalyst of change.