On May 22-25, the International Metalworkers Federation [IMF] representing 21 million metalworkers all over the world held its World Congress in Vienna, Austria. This Congress was an opportunity for trade unionists from the south to interact and debate issues with trade unions from the north [developed economies].

A congress of this nature brings together 800 delegates from across the world whose interests, trade union outlook, cultures, politics may not at all times converge.

However Congress resolved that:

development in the north (rich countries) is not sustainable now, nor in the near future without attending to the pressing problems in the south (poor countries) of poverty, under development, civil wars, trade and debt. its Action Programme will reposition the IMF to tackle issues that affect workers in many parts of the world and will provide technical and financial support to workers who live in abject poverty and experience under-development and brutal repression.

The IMF will work together:

with progressive governments in the south (poor and indebted countries) towards ensuring that the meeting of the G8 countries (rich countries) in July 2005 takes concrete steps to eradicate poverty, debt and underdevelopment in the south to ensure that IMF structures at all levels are a reflection of the diverse cultures and traditions emanating from the south and the north to ensure unity and cooperation between global trade union federations and participate in the discussions to transform the ICFTU and unite it with other federations to ensure that Nepal restores democratic institutions and that a IMF task team will assists workers in the Republic of China to establish independent and democratic trade union institutions.

More importantly, congress endorsed a resolution to extend the IMF Executive Committee by including eight women from the continents of the IMF. Selinah Tyikwe, Numsa's national gender coordinator was elected as a representative of Africa in the Executive while Silumko Nondwangu was re-elected onto the Executive with two other members representing the east and north of Africa.

For additional information go to the IMF website at

On the home frontIn this round of bargaining with Seifsa, it is very clear that our members will have to embark on industrial action to compel employers to agree on the key strategic demands tabled. In the recent Numsa National Executive Committee (NEC) we reviewed these negotiations and reached the following decisions:

regional and local leaders must mobilise our members for the planned national Cosatu marches on 27 June in this action, Numsa will submit to Seifsa representatives in all regions a separate memorandum tabling our anger at the slow pace to reach agreement on the following issues: wages and the wage model; backdating of the agreement; exemptions for SMMEs; labour brokers and LDCs; shift allowance and many others.

If the employers' response remains the same after June 27, we will call a special NEC before the end of June to consider the forms of industrial action to take, including strike action.

On the political frontThe NEC reaffirmed the strategic importance of the forthcoming ANC NGC in July and the role that our members as activists of the ANC could play in its policy debates on strategy and tactics of the ANC; development and underdevelopment; unity and cohesion of the movement; the national question.

We cannot afford to outsource such important revolutionary work to others. This is an important platform in our country that will shape broader policy issues towards the National Conference in 2007. We must translate into action what the ANC Stellenbosch Conference said, "the ANC is a disciplined force of the left".

On the Shaik/Zuma trialWe call upon all our members and the public at large to remain calm and steadfast and ensure that the movement and its Alliance remain united in their resolve to tackle this matter in a manner that unifies our people, and carries forward the traditions of discipline and revolutionary commitment in all sectors of the national liberation movement.

Debates must be about to what extent this matter carries forward the national democratic revolution and a society free of exploitation.Seifsa be warned, the battle lines are drawn!


Aluta continuaSilumko Nondwangu, general secretary