Delegates from Numsa’s nine regions sat shoulder to shoulder to participate in the recent national bargaining conference (NBC).
It is a momentous conference that takes place every three years for most sectors organised by the giant union.
Numsa collective bargaining is taking place when the strikes in the mining and agriculture sectors are still fresh in the minds of members.
Numsa believes that the events in Marikana and De Doorns have changed the face of collective bargaining.
Numsa president Cedric Gina opened the NBC on April 16 this year at St George’s Hotel in Irene, Pretoria.
Gina reminded delegates that they must be mindful of the fact that they were mandated by the owners of the union – the members – to truly represent them at this NBC.
In his speech, Gina delivered a scathing attack on the hypocrisy of the Free Market Foundation, likening it to the past when those who fought viciously for the Inkatha Freedom Party in its battles with the African National Congress were defectors from the ANC.
“The new members will become the worst aggressors towards their former organisation in an effort to prove to the new organisation that they indeed belong,” Gina said.
Gina did not spare those who have accused Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim of being a pseudo-communist. He said Numsa did not demand a certain level of political consciousness in a general secretary.
“It is a bonus that he is a communist and that we do not doubt his commitment to the cause of workers and the working class,” he said.
Gina issued a friendly but firm warning to those who say South Africans should not blame apartheid for the ills that the country still faces. Gina spoke about cases where black workers were still called “kaffirs”. Black workers still wake up at 3am to go to work because of the apartheid spatial design, he said.
Root of the problem
Delegates identified the root of the problem, which is capitalism.
Without doubt, Numsa members are more united, stronger and growing in numbers in 2013.