Numsa’s 9th national congress

The Numsa national office-bearers (NOBs), elected by the Numsa 9th national congress, convened their first strategic planning session from July 29 to August 1 this year to consider the outcomes of the national congress.

The Numsa Central Committee, held from August 27 to August 31 this year. endorsed the outcomes of the Numsa NOBs’ strategic planning sessions and unanimously concluded that the Numsa 9th National Congress was a watershed, a successful, united and democratic platform, which allowed metalworkers to examine the political and organisational trajectory since 2008.

The Numsa CC furthermore accepted the NOBs’ apology for not having the congress bags and t-shirts available, as promised by the relevant service providers.

Organisational imperatives to be undertaken over the next four years:
We list below the key organisational working programmes emerging from the Numsa 9th national congress. This must be read in conjunction with what appeared in the July/August 2012 Numsa News;
Review of the Numsa head office after the National Congress

This review must deal with the proper placement of individuals in the different portfolios. We must critique units and departments and its current location. We must also deal with the national congress decision to move gender from the secretariat department to the OCCB department;

Numsa’s organising, campaigns and collective bargaining strategy
There is an urgent need to turn the new Numsa organising, campaigns and collective bargaining strategy into a programmatic platform. This must include a framework and timeline for when the realignment of sectors and bargaining chambers take effect.

Preparing for collective bargaining in 2013
Page 21 of New Organising, Campaigns and Collective Bargaining talks of the need to “conduct research on a constant basis to determine real inflation”.

Agency fee and recruitment
There is a need to turn the agency shop fee into signed-up Numsa membership through a sustained and targeted recruitment campaign.
Strategic planning

We need to improve our strategic planning, evaluation and monitoring of strategic plans – including their frequency. This should include thee need to return to a four-year strategic plan with a bottom-up approach.

Launching the Numsa regional and local political commissions
As a matter of urgency, we must ensure that all Numsa regional and local political commissions are launched so that we give practical expression to the ninth national congress political platform: national health Insurance, monitoring ward councillors, crises in basic education, building a working class-biased ANC, building a strong and revolutionary SACP, reviving the South African National Civic Organisation and so on.

Sociology of Work Programme (Swop) membership survey
We must drive the implementation of the Numsa membership survey recommendations that have emerged from the Swop survey of Numsa’s membership.

Development of the Numsa services charter
Congress adopted the NOBs’ proposal that we develop a Numsa services charter which would set out the kind of quality service shopstewards, officials and office-bearers are expected to provide to Numsa members.

Congress adopted the 50/50 income and expenditure ratio and, therefore, agreed that we may fill the following positions, subject to not exceeding the 50/50 ratio.

• Regional skills employment equity coordinators;

• Regional occupational health and safety coordinators;

• National legal training and education coordinator;

• National ideological training officer; and

• Local organisers, as per the membership organiser ratio of 3 500:1.

Numsa full-time shop stewards (FTSS)
We are required to make the FTSS facility a much more effective and efficient tool in Numsa, if we are to provide better service to members and advance our political agenda. This will require us to renegotiating current FTSS agreements.

Regional secretaries will convene monthly or bi-monthly meetings with FTSS to ensure that Numsa programmes are carried out, providing them with the same capacity-building training as organisers.

Numsa’s computerised membership system
We have to move with speed to conclude the membership clean-up project, subs collection and roll-out of membership cards.

Oiling and engineering our structures to function optimally
We must address all weaknesses, problems and shortcomings of the following structures to ensure that we meet the objectives and mandates of these structures:
• National finance committee;

• National treasurers’ forum;

• National gender structures;

• National heads of department (HOD) forum;

• General secretary, deputy general secretary and regional secretary national forum;

• National staff consultative forum;

• National dispute committee;

• International and solidarity committee at regional and national level; and

• Creating a Numsa cultural platform, drawing on the 25th anniversary rally and national congress plays.

Managing the state of regions
It is critical that all Numsa regions operate within the confines of the union’s constitution, policies and procedures.

Building a strong Cosatu
We are tasked by the national congress to process all the Cosatu-related issues identified by the secretariat report as challenges in the federation.
The Numsa organisational renewal project
We must process the outcomes of the organisational renewal national workshop held in May this year.

Numsa’s information and communications technology
We must process the proposals on the establishment of a Numsa IT infrastructure committee. We need to enhance our use of ITC and embark on a serious capacity-building programme to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our ITC use. This must include the speedy roll out of e-mail facilities to all Numsa locals in the country.

Head office departmental matters
We need to process the head office departmental matters contained and reported in the national congress secretariat report.

Numsa political schools
We must implement with urgency Numsa’s Marxist-Leninist political schools and the employment of a national ideological training officer.
Other campaigns and issues to be processed over the next four years
• Campaign for the most resolute implementation of the Freedom Charter;

• Name our preferred leadership in the ANC’s Mangaung national conference in December this year;

• Demand that councillors report back to communities monthly or bi-monthly;

• Execute and drive Numsa’s socio-economic demands through a S77 dispute;

• Take forward IndustriALL issues on the African continent;

• Drive an anti-xenophobia campaign and attract foreign workers into Numsa;

• Take forward our campaigns on Swaziland, Western Sahara, Zimbabwe and Palestine;

• Adopt strategies and tactics to attract more young metalworkers into Numsa;

• Develop organising and servicing strategies for people with disabilities in all Numsa-organised workplaces;

• Build and enhance Numsa’s work related to the establishment and resourcing of worker cooperatives;

• Campaign for better working conditions through amendments to labour legislation, economic policies and collective bargaining;

• Expedite the establishment of a Numsa national strike fund to be finalised by the December 2012 Numsa CC;

• Support the boycott and disinvestment and sanctions campaigns against Israel;

• Scrap the tender system within the next five years and work for the state’s promotion of cooperatives;

• Provide better service to members through:

• Access to legal services for civil claims, insurance and defence in criminal matters; and

• Establishing a helpline to advise shopstewards;

• Drive a dedicated campaign on women’s development;

• Fight against the national wage subsidy;

• Fight for the banning of labour brokers;

• Scrap e-tolling; and

• Demand that government and National Treasury dump all aspects of Gear by declaring a S77 dispute.

Action points emerging from the national congress secretariat report
The national congress adopted the secretariat report, and flowing from this, our programme and plans would have to include the following work;

Alliance: demand a thorough review of the post-Polokwane functioning of the alliance.

SACP: In the short term, work with the SACP to achieve the following:

• Nationalise the major means of production;

• Declare education, health and a meal a day available to everyone;

• Create state-facilitated anti-crime volunteer units in working-class communities;

• Centralise major means of communication and transport in the hands of state;

• Create a worker’s bank;

• Create a national housing bank;

• Begin restructuring the state in the interests of the working class;

• Abolish labour broking; and

• Abolish retrenchments.
ANC: Hold preparatory workshop for ANC national conference for the NEC and Numsa delegates to the ANC conference

Follow up on the nationalisation position from the ANC policy conference through Cosatu

Cosatu: Prepare for the Cosatu national congress

• Link up and re-activate working-class structures around community and other struggles.

• Political commissions to develop guidelines for monitoring councillors and local government.

• Explore the pros and cons of a single election process.
Youth: Define how we want to engage with the formations of young people (in particular the ANC Youth League, the South African National Civic Organisation, the South African Students Congress, the Congress of South African Students and the Young Communist League) so that we contribute to shaping their political outlook.

Specific education and training:

• Re-tool part 2 for organisers, focusing on liquidations and the new Companies Act;

• Induction and training for new organisers; and

• Refresher workshops for organisers.
All staff: Computer training.

• Draft training for legal organisers and legal officers; and

• Legal writing, statement taking and administration training for legal administrators.
Training for HODs, new regional secretaries and new regional administration secretaries on democratic management

Local administrators:
• Administrative skills such as filing and para-legal skills; and

• Induction for new administrators.
Shopstewards: New shopstewards’ training (recommendation 4, Swop).
Training for new regional secretaries, regional administrative secretaries and HODs on the democratic management module.

Company finance training:
• Continue to train organisers on how to read financial reports; and

• Engage an accountant or similar person to assist organisers with analysis.
Liquidation: workshops in all regions for organisers, shopstewards and administrators with a focus on business rescue.

Train members on the law enabling unions to be sued for damage, including education on what a strike is and the tactics and strategy of a strike. Train marshals.

Youth Forum: capacity-building.
Educate and inform members, shopstewards and trustees on the capitalist economic crisis.

Trustees: specialist training for Numsa trustees in the Metal Industry Provident Fund on financing socially-owned renewables.
Conduct education on the socially-owned renewable energy sector.

Train and develop unemployed youth and the community for co-ops.

Material development on:

• Xenophobia

• World Federation of Trade Unions and global union federations.

• Induction manual for regional secretaries.

• Regional version of Leading and managing on how a region operates.

• Produce skills development and employment equity (EE) manual (Recommendation 1, Swop) – Also deal with the politics of EE (engage with Black Management Forum and the issue of BBBEE codes and employment equivalent)

• Use new media (Recommendation 9, Swop).

• Produce an anti-labour broker manual (Recommendation 10, Swop).
Staff audit & feedback:

• Perform another skills audit to identify gaps in the skills of staff, in order to produce tailored training.

• Assess to see whether staff who have received training are implementing the skills that they have acquired and if they are not, why not.

• The audit must include full-time shop stewards.

Education and media:
• Find creative ways for regions to integrate media work with the overall political programme and activities of the union.

• Find a more dynamic way of linking organising, campaigns and collective bargaining (OCCB) with the media unit to drive serious internal and external propaganda.

• Ensure that the data on Numsa’s website is comprehensive.

• Get the Numsa Investment Company (NIC) and retirement funds to run adverts about the surplus on community radio stations in order to generate money for community radio.

• Develop a module for shopstewards to be rolled out at shopsteward councils on how they can use Numsa News and why it is important.

• Set up an editorial board this year to look at Numsa News content and improve the number of bulletins that are brought out.

Skills Development:
• Reverse the trend for skills training to be conducted at the initiative of companies rather than of Numsa.

• Explore different ways in which shopstewards could achieve accreditation for training on work restructuring.

• Do an audit of strategic work we are doing in the Setas and deliberate on it in a national conference or workshop with all our deployees.

Monetary and fiscal policy:
Intensify our call on government and its institutions to stop using the current narrow inflation-targeting framework and replace it with a broader monetary approach which will include:
• Price controls;

• Subsidies on basic needs; and

• An industry policy to stimulate the productive capacity of the economy.
Call on the ANC-led alliance government to pursue an expansionary fiscal policy to counter the devastating effects of the global economic crisis on poor individuals.

Expose the bilateral agreement that the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) entered into with German shareholders in the form of a treaty.
Convene a bilateral between Numsa and SARB.

Industrial Policy
• Work through Cosatu to hold a quarterly review and engage vigorously with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and government industrial policy around products that affect the sectors where Numsa is involved.

• Get NOBs involved in Nedlac.

Trade Policy:
• Apply for “critical importance” designation through the DTI and/or review standards that will define local content. Indentify strategic sectors and companies.

• Identify loopholes that allow cheaper imports to enter the country with lower duties and inform any amendment to tariffs.

• Obtain improved data on companies under threat from cheap imports and import-parity pricing.

• Look at transfer pricing in respect of multinational companies.

• Research the auto value chain in respect of what constitutes local content as opposed to imports (including the importation of second-hand cars from Japan).

Social Policy:
• Kickstart the Sadtu/Numsa task team, as agreed by the Numsa May 2010 NEC, to address the education crisis. How do we develop a clearer ideological perspective of knowledge and knowledge production from a class point of view?

• Educate and mobilise around national health insurance.
Job retention and Job creation:
Monitor progress on jobs through the Numsa national jobs task team.

External participation:
• Take a seat on the solar water heating advisory committee that advises Eskom on rollout.

• Revive engagements with regional and local economic departments; head office to give more support to regions in their engagements on job creation.

• Ensure that there is consistency in our representation, and strengthen our capacity for future engagements with Nedlac.

• Request representation in the inter-ministerial project steering committee (PSC) chaired by the Department of Economic Development. Demand representation on the PSC .

Renewable energy campaign:
As a matter of urgency, convene the following meetings:

• An urgent meeting with the Minister of Energy;

• A workshop with the ANC study group on energy;

• A briefing session with the South African Communist Party; and

• Meeting with civil society.

Establish renewable energy bid watch.
Conduct education on socially-owned renewable energy sector.
Develop a critique of existing development path of renewable energy.
Explore the possibilities of using workers’ pension funds as a vehicle for funding the renewable energy sector.

Secure specialist training for Numsa trustees in the metal industries pension funds on financing socially owned renewables.

Organise workers in all branches of renewables sector – identify companies.
Create our own register of renewable energy companies.

Set up satellite offices in the locations where key developments are.
Advance gender equity as we build a socially-owned renewable energy sector.

Demand that renewable companies adhere to employment equity and BBBEE legislation.

Demonstrate and experiment through the Numsa national cooperative coordinator and NIC:
• create renewable energy coops; and

• Experiment with different scales of technology, including on and off-grid technology.

Encourage other socially-owned entities to enter the renewable energy sector, including municipal-owned solar and wind parks.

Do policy development on renewable energy: deepen understanding on a socially-owned renewable energy sector in Numsa, Cosatu, the alliance and the international trade union movement.

Develop alternative approaches to funding a socially-owned renewable energy sector:
Explore possibilities for using pension funds;
Explore how fossil fuel revenues can be harnessed to fund renewables; and
Insist on government setting aside public investment for renewables.

Build and strengthen alliances inside South Africa with unions such as NUM, Samwu and Ceppwawu.
Implement the existing CC decision to participate again in the Energy

Build strong links to relevant research and training centres, including university engineering departments.
Establish dynamic link with our Setas.