Democracy and worker control

There is a trend today in some unions for the bureaucracy to “manage” democracy for workers, on the grounds that this is practical or efficient.

A serious problem arises if unions purport to represent members on issues while leaving the workers themselves in the dark. This is tantamount to self-mandating and is undemocratic. Workers must be able to associate with every activity of the union and must have control over whatever is carried through to negotiations.

This runs the risk of bureaucratising the trade union movement. The principle of worker control has to become a reality. Please understand that unions are not established for workers but are established by workers themselves to defend and advance their rights. A trade union that does not maximise workers’ participation is bound to face extinction.

In conclusion, the unity of workers in the trade union movement is vital because nothing is bigger or more important than the workers who are united.

Forward with democracy and worker control, forward! Aluta.

Thomas E Maluleke

Kempton Park Local

Dear Numsa News

We as shopstewards and comrades would just want to let you know that we do exist here in Saldanha/ Vredenburg. We love the Numsa News, would love to have more copies available and would like to contribute in any such positive way. We are open to any suggestions on how we could achieve this.



Llewellyn Dekker

Numsa Shopsteward Iscor Saldanha Steel

Dear cde Dekker

Because you have more than 150 members at your workplace we will send you a bundle direct. We always welcome stories from shop stewards or members about things that are happening at your workplace/ community. Send them in!

If any other companies have more than 150 members and don’t receive Numsa News direct, please contact us and give us your details.


How do we express our condolences?

I would like to pose a question concerning funeral issues. I understand that there are funeral policies covering the family.

The family buy the coffin and a cow, hire a tent and chairs and pay for the burial. But is it necessary for them to buy food for everybody who attends the funeral?

What are our condolences? Why can’t it be on our shoulders to supply the family with food? The next thing there is ‘after tears’. Who is supposed to do that? The family again? Why all these unnecessary things, because tomorrow the family remains in debt.

Andries Mbokazi, Westonaria, PAWE member

Dear Numsa News

Another year has passed since our last negotiations cycle. Well all is well for most of our comrades who have decided to settle for the 6.5% and 7.5% wage increase across the board in all our regions. Some feel that this was the way forward while others felt that we could have done better this year. My personal opinion is that YES we could have done better this year! Why? Companies only give employees a once a year salary increase and not on a regular basis.

My question today is where are we going to if this keeps up? The cost of living is increasing day by day, everything is increasing and yet we accept this poor increase as workers in the industry. We must remember that companies’ annual profits are much more and that they are not really concerned about how people get on from day to day in our communities. What we take home to our families at the end of the day is just enough to get them through the month or perhaps on a weekly basis.

If you just take a look at which regions accepted this offer, this is the area that I believe employees earn good salaries, and to them anything is acceptable. But those areas that rejected are employees who earn less and are not in such a position to make a decent living.

It comes to one thing at the end of the day. Do we as higher-paid salary workers don’t take into consideration what the rest of the comrades earn for a living wage? I feel this is selfishness. We as COMMARADES have to support one another when it comes to making decisions regarding matters like this.

We are all part and parcel of Cosatu and we must be very focused on unity in all regions in our country and not sweep it away if it falls on our doorstep to support each other in the ongoing struggle in the workplace. May this be a lesson to all that fighting for what you want will only make it better tomorrow. I hope that next year’s engineering negotiations will be much more successful and in the years to come. We are Numsa so let’s forget about just concerning ourselves about ourselves and think about our fellow comrades as well.

Numsa Shop steward

Leslie Skermand

Duferco Steel Processing, Saldanha