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Media Centre  |  COSATU Press Statements

Announcement of the formation of a "giant labour federation" consisting of Fedusa, Nactu and Consawu

29 November 2005

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted the announcement of the formation tomorrow of a "giant labour federation" consisting of Fedusa, Nactu and Consawu.

COSATU has always supported the vision of one united trade union federation in South Africa. However this new initiative could have two possible outcomes:

The new federation may take the narrow, short-sighted position of becoming "a significant rival to COSATU", as its media statement says. If they take that position, it will suggest that COSATU, rather than capital, is their main enemy. Such a move would on ly assist the employers and government, who will seize on the opportunity to play divide-and-rule between different workers' organizations and seriously weaken the union movement.

On the other hand, this initiative could be a stepping-stone towards bringing to fruition the historic vision of "One Country-One Federation", something all workers desire but which would be impossible without COSATU and its 1.7 paid-up million members.

We appeal to the leaders of the new federation to take the second route and open talks with COSATU, so that we can move towards the strong united federation we all aspire to create. We are ready to engage with the new leadership on this.

Whatever the new organization decides, COSATU will continue to pursue this historic goal of unity, place the issue firmly on the agenda of the trade union movement and fight for the workers' voice to be united and strong.

'Unity' without COSATU, which represents the majority of workers, cannot be true unity.