The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) has been granted a certificate of non-resolution to strike at Transnet. The reason we have been forced into considering this drastic course of action is because Transnet is refusing to recognize the union.
Transnet is frustrating our members. They are refusing to grant us recognition because they are worried about the impact that NUMSA will have. NUMSA is a militant worker controlled union and we have no loyalty to the bosses which is why they are refusing to recognize us. We care only about advancing the interests of workers and the work we do is based on the principle of worker control. We are convinced that we meet the threshold for recognition but the management of Transnet keeps manipulating the process. That is why we are demanding that an independent audit must be done to establish the true representation of all trade unions organizing at Transnet.
Transnet has demonstrated that it is biased against NUMSA. It disciplined and suspended over a hundred of our members in Bloemfontein for daring to wear NUMSA t-shirts! This is a case which we are fighting and it will be heard by the Labour court on the 25th of June. The management at Transnet is shamelessly attacking workers by violating their right to freedom of association and undermining their right to free speech!
Furthermore, the organization deducts two subscriptions from some of our members. They deduct trade union fees and agency fees. Agency fees are paid by non-unionized workers. It should only be deducted from non-union members, however, some of our members suffer from being debited twice instead of once.
This is an issue which we have raised with the management of Transnet and they have ignored our complaints on this issue. They have the power to rectify this problem immediately, but they are refusing to co-operate. They want to punish workers for exercising their democratic right to choose the union of their choice.
We have also noted that UNTU released a statement making this announcement on our behalf. This is bizarre in the extreme. UNTU has always had an unnatural obsession with NUMSA and it is constantly making false statements in the media about our activities. They are a union whose interests are geared towards defending the bosses at Transnet at the expense of workers. We wish to advise the leadership of UNTU that they should stop obsessing over us and focus on running their own affairs. As we speak, the majority of their members are unhappy because the union signed a sell-out wage deal without consulting members. Instead of dealing with the criticism from members and responding to it, they spend their time churning out false propaganda about us. Their members will continue to abandon them because they are not militant and there is no culture of worker control.
WE DEMAND AN INDEPENDENT AUDIT ON ALL TRADE UNIONS AT TRANSNET!
We demand that an independent verification exercise must be done on all trade unions at Transnet to resolve this fairly. We also demand a meeting with the new Transnet board and the Transport minister to review these issues. If not, we will embark on a protected strike in support of all our members in Transnet, not just in the rail division but throughout the organization. We have approximately 7400 members at the SOE and new members are joining NUMSA in numbers every day.
Our members have the right to be represented by the trade union of their choice. We condemn Transnet for interfering in this process and NUMSA will do whatever is necessary to guarantee the rights of all workers.
The struggle continues!
Issued by Phakamile Hlubi-Majola
NUMSA National Spokesperson