In the recent past, we were actively involved as trade union members and as activists in direct struggles to challenge the power of capital in our economy. The nationwide one-day strike led by the federation (Cosatu) against local and global neo-liberalism was an important and historic battle. It was supported by thousands of ordinary workers, the poor and unemployed to protest the job bloodbath in all sectors of our economy.

Thousands of metalworkers from all our regions came out in support of this action. They sent a clear message to Seifsa that we will not fold our arms when employers refuse to improve their offer on wages and other conditions of employment.

In all the marches in the different parts of the country, you could not but recognise the presence of metalworkers in their red head-bands. These actions that were part of the Cosatu rolling mass action against job losses, raised the following important matters:

we can no longer deny that unemployment remains one of the major threats to our growing democracy;
the democratic state, which in the last national election received an overwhelming victory, has to use this mandate to discipline capital and also take appropriate measures to intervene in all sectors of the economy;
from an organisational point, the success of this action under-scored once again, the importance of building strong, united and militant trade unions;
for Seifsa, the presence of thousands of metalworkers in the marches compelled employers to revise their offer at the negotiating table.

In our factories, locals and communities our activists must engage in discussions with communities on taking up issues of poverty, under-development and the effects of unemployment in the social fabric. The alliance that we forged with community organisations on this action must be translated into local issues of a common interest. In this we will be building unity in action and translating Cosatu and Numsa resolutions to forge broader alliances with social movements.

In our own national assessment of this action, we recognised the importance at all levels of the organisation of working very closely with other affiliates of Cosatu in our locals who have some organisational weaknesses in mobilisation and direct strike action.

In this Numsa News we report to you on the gains that the Union continues to make, and will continue making, to defend and advance the interests of metalworkers. In our factories and locals we reflect upon these struggles and the lessons we could learn from one another in building a stronger, militant workers’ union. These struggles can only have the desired effect when translated into real organisational and political work in the branches and districts of the ANC and the SACP.

In the national general council (NGC) of the ANC, we were unable to count even 100 metalworkers as delegates from ANC branches. In our 7 th National Congress, delegates representing your regions resolved that the Union must build a strong, working class ANC. It is in conferences of the ANC and the SACP that we are able to judge the extent to which we are executing decisions taken in our meetings.

In the Numsa secretariat report to the 7 th National Congress, we made this clarion call to congress delegates, an extract from Amilcar Cabral:

“Our struggle is for our people, because its objective, its purpose is to satisfy their aspirations, dreams and desires of our people; to lead a decent and worthy life, as all the people in the world want, to have peace in order to build progress in their land, to build happiness for their children. We want everything we win in this struggle to belong to our people and we want to do our utmost to form an organisation such that even if some want to divert the conquests of the struggle to their own advantage, our people will not let them….”

This message passed to congress delegates in our 7 th National Congress is as relevant today as tomorrow in the work that we do in building revolutionary, united organs of workers in particular and the working class in general.

Aluta continuaSilumko Nondwangu, general secretary