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Congress | Resolutions
1999 Special Congress: Draft Composite Resolutions
Consolidation Of COSATU For The New Millennium
Table of contentOrganisational renewal of COSATU
- Context and challenges
Role of COSATU
- The Need for Restructuring
- Shop Steward Election
- Education, Training And
Shop Steward Training
Second layer leadership
First layer leadership
First layer leadership
Interest Rates, bank charges and access to credit
Health Safety and Environment
HIV / AIDS
Additional ex-officio positions on constitutional structures
Reserved seats for women
Deputy Secretary position at regional and local levels
Representation of sector co-ordinators on constitutional structures
Targeting women for education programmes
Regional / National gender training for men
Electing women shop stewards
Building gender structures
Taking up gender and workplace struggles in society
Political programme and measurable targets
Violence against women
Southern African Solidarity
Sharing of resources
Problems within affiliates
Utilisation of staff
SAAPAWU and domestic workers
Organising the unemployed
The consolidation of COSATU for the new millennium campaign is not an attempt to generate new organisational policy for the federation. The 6th National Congress as well as the recommendations of the September Commission form the basis of policy. Further the 1998 Central Executive Committee adopted a three-year programme of action which we are in the process of implementing. The strategies presented to the Congress are intended to ensure the full implementation of that programme.
What is different is that we are consolidating all of these into a single, coherent and integrated campaign in a focused way in order to maximise the impact.
The campaign itself will run for eleven months into the 7th National Congress where an evaluation shall be made. Thereafter another three- (3) year programme based on the foundations of this Special National Congress shall be developed culminating into the 8th National Congress in 2003.
The mistake we should not commit is to bite off more than we can chew. Everything we agree to should be capable of implementation including at the resource level. Where our own resources become limited we should clearly state that though we are willing to implement our plan we are unable to allocate resources. The Central Executive Committee scheduled for 12 - 14 October 1999 is an important occasion where we should determine this. (Exco)
The Federation has excellent and progressive policies, democratic structures and a status in the country that other federations in the world would envy. There is consensus about that. The most crucial issue facing COSATU is organisation.
We are extremely sceptical about the federations capacity to deliver on the proposals for education and training, gender, campaigns etc.
We have noted that the September Commission report, and other resolutions adopted by the 1997 Congress identified the problems that the Federation and its affiliates were having in implementing policies. Various reports to EXCO have highlighted some of the challenges, some progress has been made, and some of the areas that have not been tacked adequately to date. In acknowledging the need for the federation to prioritise the election, and so delay implementation of a lot of policies, we do not believe that the election can explain all the shortfalls.
We believe that it is now time to take a long hard look at the way we function, and take urgent steps to introduce changes that will enable COSATU to be more effective in the period ahead. Only by operating more effectively, and acting decisively to implement policy decisions can we take maximum advantage of the generally favourable political situation in our country.
The Federation has emerged from the elections with four of our most outstanding leaders deployed to either National or Provincial Government. This should be welcomed as a significant increase in the influence of COSATU, and recognition of our continuing role in providing cadres to assist in the transformation of the country.
The election of replacement leaders is a challenge, and is clearly one of the most important issues for the congress to address. The challenge is to find comrades with the capacity for leadership, the integrity, the right political vision, gender balance etc. However NEHAWU would argue that the task is more difficult if the Federation is not completely clear on its vision and direction. It is not enough to elect leaders. Those leaders must be clear what it is that the workers of South Africa expect of them, and we know from experience that making policy is not enough.
The Federation should see the election process as an opportunity to redefine and clarify its strategic vision, aims, objectives and organisational development needs.
It is vital that the affiliates of COSATU, its staff and office bearers, emerge with an agreed way forward.
Organisationally the Federation has made some advances since adopting the report of the September Commission. However many of the recommendations have not been implemented. Whilst the federation can be said to have a high profile and influence in government, this does not appear to be because of our organisational strength. In fact there are some serious weaknesses that are just not being addressed in a systematic and effective way. There has been little progress towards Cartels; we have not made adequate progress in dealing with the problems of weaker affiliates; little progress has been made in setting "measurable targets" for womens leadership; service to members is patchy; we have not spread our influence into many new industries and amongst new groups of workers.
There is some evidence that the agreed priorities of the federation are not being allocated the necessary human and financial resources to carry them forward. This may be a problem of general under-funding of the federation by affiliates, but it may also be that resources are not being strategically targeted. Whilst the federation has good political and socio-economic policies there has been little in the way of reports to affiliates as to how organisational form is given to the policies, and how the priorities are prioritised by either funding them or not funding them. (NEHAWU)
While COSATU and its affiliates have taken forward the interests of members in particular and the working class in general, a number of weaknesses are evident over the recent period. Such weaknesses must be seen in the context of the shifting political terrain nationally and globally.
The re-emergence of militancy in particular sectors is evident. The willingness of these workers to engage capital practically must be commended. This however has been affiliate-driven with lack of support and solidarity at a federation level.
The changing terrain has caused confusion amongst some workers and stewards. Congress must recognise that the situation is critical. Employers have adapted to the transition. They now rely on the pro market aspects of GEAR, support splinter unions and the emergence of sweet heart unions which use anti-worker counter revolutionary strategies to realise their masters goals. In addition, subtle ways are used to make stewards to understand business management philosophies. It is clear we are not giving stewards sufficient political understanding and tools to analyse situations and complex issues from a pro-working class perspective.
The democratic transition has also been challenging for the labour movement in that it reduces the number and, in some cases, changes the nature of issues around which to rally. There have, however, been important issues around which to rally. Assaults on the working class such as the massive retrenchments in many sectors have been largely left to affiliates to deal with. Such issues require a united and powerful response from the trade union movement as a whole.
The federation must take note and meet the challenges arising from the crises in our industries, which could lead to massive retrenchments with the possible effect of greatly weakening certain affiliates and therefore the federation. The large number of unorganised workers, and growing numbers of part time, casual, sub-contracted, and temporary workers. (T&GWU)
The trade union movement has not moved swiftly to prepare organisers and officials to grapple with the complexity of issues faced. It is evident that the trend is towards seeing officials as technical operatives with a weakened political role.
In addition, the transition has impacted on the exodus of leadership (both worker and staff). While deployment of comrades is critical, the labour movement must not be seen as a "stop-over" but as a proud area of work. One of the factors here (causing the exodus) is the material conditions in other progressive organisations, union investment companies, government and business.
An area of evident progress is that of advancing worker control through the development of a pool of working class intellectuals. The federation and most unions is led by comrades with a proletariat background who, as working class theoreticians, are able to give an intellectual strategic way forward and inputs.
While many gains have been made at COSATU and affiliate level, we still remain less effective, democratic and creative than we could or should be. The question remains as to whether we are positioning ourselves strategically in an ever changing environment. (NUM)
The existing proposals around consolidation of COSATU for the new millenium, including the proposals around recruitment, shop steward elections, shop steward training, and training of first and second layer leadership, engaging the media, use of information technology, and raising resources, are good proposals which should be endorsed.
There is a need for organisational development not only at a COSATU but also in individual affiliates who dont implement campaigns and policies. We need to establish a clear mechanism to drive the process of organisational renewal. Such a mechanism could be located in the envisaged Exco/CEC Commission on Internal Affairs.
It could be a sub-committee of the above mentioned commission, comprising of one or two COSATU NOBs, one or two COSATU staff members, and about four to six people from affiliates. This would be a small, focused team, to drive the envisaged processes of organisational renewal. The task team should have clear terms of reference, time frames, and lines of accountability. It could drive the envisaged 11 month process until the 7th Congress. It could propose concrete mechanisms for improving efficiency and effectiveness of all our people. The NOBs and CEC would be tasked with establishing the task team, and giving it a clear framework. (T&GWU)
At times in our structures there is a lack of clear lines of accountability and responsibility, as well as lack of discipline. It is not always clear what the job descriptions of various departments or individuals within departments are. We need workplace driven policies. Worker control is undermined by inefficiency and bureaucracy. (T&GWU)
This new phase needs the centrality of COSATU in the policy making and debate in the Alliance, government, public sector, NEDLAC, on the international front and the civil society in general.
Further, some weaknesses / conflicts within the affiliates also need COSATU's intervention but COSATU has not been proactive instead has been reactive because of onerous workload of the National Office Bearers. Already a number of affiliates have their President's as full time shop stewards.
There is a need to have more human resources available at the centre in the form of elected leadership in order to drive and build a proactive federation. The national worker office bearers of COSATU be full-time shop stewards focussing on COSATU matters. Part of their main responsibility is to make intervention in problems arising from the Affiliates which cannot be resolved by the Affiliate concerned .(SADTU)
There is a need for a broader debate within the federation. A debate that would clarify and detail the role and duties of full time NOBs; how they would continue to maintain contact with their base in the factories.
The COSATU Central Executive Committee develop a discussion document on the matter. The 2000 COSATU Congress to finalise the matter (NUMSA)
COSATU must have a speedy and effective means of allocating workers to the correct union. This means an effective means of resolving disputes an interventionist role at local level to influence the recruitment strategy on the ground, and progress towards Cartels and the elimination of unworkable boundaries between affiliates. (NEHAWU)
Demarcations and the super union thinking must struck a balance between marginal sectors and labour intensive sectors e.g. linking domestic workers to a well organised sector. (NUM)
Consolidate and strengthen the labour movement by uniting workers across races and all barriers and be of one mind and purpose to uplift and improve their conditions of life and their capacity to formulate and influence policy that will transform our society (NUM)
the broadest possible membership base. The Federation must meet the challenges of organising white-collar workers, rural workers and others identified by the September Commission. No sector should be left unorganised or poorly organised.
A speedy and effective means of allocating workers to the correct union. This means an effective means of resolving disputes an interventionist role at local level to influence the recruitment strategy on the ground, and progress towards Cartels and the elimination of unworkable boundaries between affiliates.
Building political consciousness amongst organised workers, thereby capacitating them to take part in policy making.
Establishing a working relationship with other Federations, with the ultimate objective being the unity of all workers in South Africa.
Facilitating effective processes of policy development, ensuring worker participation.
Defining the key elements of worker control, and ensuring that affiliates adhere to Federation rules and policies.
Demarcation of COSATU regions to be coterminous with Provinces. Regions need to have clear roles, and to be funded to enable those roles to be performed.
The reviving and re-focussing of COSATU Locals, with adequate resources to function effectively.
There are definite problems within some departments at COSATU Head Office. There is a lack of focus caused by a lack of clarity about the role of the departments and individual employed in the departments. Some departments seem to have a very unclear remit.
Whist comrades are doing good work in the Education Department, particularly in the election campaign, the strategic role they are playing is very unclear. This is not surprising given the growth in the programmes delivered by Ditsela, but there is a need to clarify the role of the department and for there to be work-plans that address organisational needs and priorities. It is noticeable that the EXCO proposals to congress are very wide-ranging and ambitious. NEHAWU is very doubtful that the Education department in its present form would be able to achieve such a wide remit. There is also a need to clarify the role of Ditsela, and the way COSATU develops input into Ditsela policy-making processes must be sharpened up.
In the organising and negotiating department the same clarity is needed. What is the role of the Federation now that centralised bargaining exists and a legislative framework is enabling affiliates to organise and negotiate effectively? We need to determine whether it is time to reduce the bargaining function of the Federation and strengthen the organisational structures. The focus of such a structure could be redefined as grass roots (recruitment campaigns etc) but it could also have a clear remit to bring unions together and bring about progress in the move towards Cartels.
The development of policy, and the ability of the federation to respond quickly to challenges, is addressed to some extent in the EXCO papers to congress. We would add that the policy and research resource within COSATU needs to be equipped to analyse, forecast developments, draw lessons from international experience, and make better use of IT to assist us all to keep on top of a fast moving situation. Although there are good ideas contained in the EXCO report there will need to be a lot of detailed work done to clarify and give direction to NALEDI, link the policy making, research, campaigning, bargaining and parliamentary work of the federation.
The proposals contained in the EXCO report on Information Technology are excellent. They are clear and measurable, and could form the basis of an agreed strategy. However it is very unclear what role the IT department has in terms of implementation. The affiliated unions appear to be taking their own route, with the department playing a reducing role as the problems get greater.
The report to congress on the Gender work of the Federation is welcome, but the question has to be asked as to why it has taken so long for a systematic approach to be set out. Some of the information now being gathered should already be with the centre. Ways need to be found of ensuring that all affiliates take Gender work seriously. Failures to respond have to be dealt with effectively so that such drift on vital policy does not occur in future.
There is a need to examine all the departments and ensure that there is a clear understanding of their roles and agreed work-plans. NEHAWU fully supports the conceptualisation of the period ahead as the "Consolidation phase". We have said we believe the policies are in place. What are needed now are clear implementation strategies and work-plans, and the structures within the Federation that will enable them to be developed and implemented. (NEHAWU)
This is a resolution of the 6th National Congress that instructed the CEC to develop a detailed plan that will focus on all affiliates which are less than 50% representative in the industries they organise. The intention is that all the elements of a plan be worked upon between now and the Special Congress. This will allow the Special Congress to adopt a detailed plan instead of attempting to plan itself. The February 1999 Executive Committee decided that we target the month of October 1999 for this campaign.
In the assessment of last years campaign we identified the following weaknesses:
Lack of resources such as human and transport.
Lack of proper co-ordination between regions and the teams.
Non-inclusion of the alliance partners in some regions.
Unevenness of the launch of the campaign in the different regions.
The failure of some affiliates to do follow ups and service the new members.
A poor preparation by some affiliates (packages for the recruitment such as stop-order forms, propaganda materials on benefits provided for members, etc.)
Many organisers simply did not know which areas and workplaces to target.
Lack of cooperation by some unions
Newly recruited members were dumped because there was no plan from affiliates to consolidate the gains made during this process.
We need to learn from this initial 1998 programme in order to do the September 1999 recruitment drive better. (EXCO NUMSA)
In addressing these weaknesses we must:
Involve the Alliance partners to assist in the recruitment campaign under the leadership of COSATU and affiliates.
Develop detailed plans in the regions including the potential new companies, addresses, workforce status of recruitment in those sectors, the release of shop stewards. They must also ensure that full-time Shop Stewards take part.
Ensure that regional secretaries of different affiliates meet regularly with COSATU regional secretaries to ensure report-backs, progress and assistance.
Ensure that affiliate teams meet regularly
Report regularly to head offices of affiliates
Ensure that the Regional Secretaries report to COSATU Head Office.
Coordinate regionally and locally through COSATU, but affiliates should drive the campaign
Identify areas to be targeted with a list of organised and unorganised companies.
Release adequate resources in time e.g. accommodation, fuel, media, organisers, and Shop Stewards by affiliates.
Conduct an effective media campaign with propaganda material and stop order forms.
Ensure that COSATU locals assist with campaigning particularly in rural areas.
Set up mobile offices in areas we will be targeting for communications, pamphlets and report backs.
Ensure that affiliate locals execute, monitor and implement.
Ensure that Shop Stewards execute the plan in their own companies and wherever they are deployed in a disciplined manner.
Run an induction course for Shop Stewards so that they can recruit.
Organise general meetings for organised workers so that they can participate in the campaign recruiting in their own companies and outside them.
Research what benefits white workers get from their unions. Popularise achievements/gains we have made e.g. labour laws, conditions of employment; popularise our policies, benefits and the democracy which applies within our Union.
COSATU to assist with financial and human resources e.g. food and transport for participants.
Once recruited, new members must be followed up for education and servicing purposes. (NUMSA)
A permanent recruitment team should be set up to work in close unison with regional recruitment co-ordinates. The recruitment team should monitor progress and problems emanating from the recruitment of campaign. This programme should be embarked upon for a period of a year where evaluation will be done at the next COSATU Congress (SADTU)
The September Commission makes a number of recommendations for COSATU to develop strategic focus on the vulnerable sectors. These strategies include:
Internal transfer of resources (human, material and financial) from strong to weak affiliates, and through mergers, e.g. CAWU and NUM, domestic workers into SACCAWU.
The Commission clearly explains that organising the vulnerable sectors should be the central task of COSATU and that this should become a COSATU Campaign, and not be seen as an affiliate campaign. A detailed programme the Summer Offensive was proposed. (See September Commission Report, page 143-147). (NEHAWU)
The slogan for the campaign should be:
Option 1 - "Every worker a COSATU member. Organise, service and fight for your rights" (NUMSA)
Option 2 - "Consolidating the COSATU programme of recruitment to accelerate transformation"(SAMWU)
The programme of action should be:
By mid August 1999, all affiliates must submit to COSATU Head Office finalised arrangements for the release of designated officials/organisers to concentrate on recruitment.
During the same period, all affiliates to arrange time-off for the shop stewards to be deployed.
Affiliates must establish a fund for the provision of transport, accommodation, catering, media, etc. during the campaign.
The campaign is to be for a period of twelve months beginning from the Special Congress ending with National Congress in year 2000. This programme must be broken into various stages. The COSATU CEC must give content to all the stages with Special Congress dealing only with the first stage that should begin from 01 September to 30 October 1999.
To popularise the drive, COSATU at National level, and each affiliate, must produce pamphlets for recruitment. These should give detailed information including information as raised in the discussion document. Affiliates should forward their publications to COSATU so the information can be shared throughout the Federation.
To consolidate the campaign affiliates must conduct induction workshops by the end of November for the newly recruited members. Affiliates should forward progress reports to COSATU.
The COSATU CEC will then have to strategise for the next phases of the campaign (SAMWU)
Shop Steward elections should:
Be held in the same year as their union congress
Be federation-wide to ensure effective popularisation and coordination of Shop Steward elections
Affiliates should have their National Congress well before COSATU Congress to ensure proper preparation and engagement at COSATU Congress.
COSATU should research what training is needed for shop stewards.
All affiliates to run induction courses for new Shop Stewards. Ditsela and other progressive Labour Service Organisations to assist.
Full time Shop Stewards to receive training together with coordinators and gender representatives.
Advanced courses for experienced Shop Stewards to cover collective bargaining, labour law, negotiating skills etc.
Leadership training for Office Bearers to cover economics, politics, strategic planning, and trade union management. (NUMSA; SAMWU)
The shop stewards elections must be used by all affiliates to entrench and cultivate a culture of democracy and worker control through encouraging all members to participate in and contesting shopstewardship. This must be taken as part of our reaffirmation of the 6th Congress Resolution on " Worker Control".
Affiliates must set out clear guide-lines in determining constituencies so as to ensure that all members have proper representation by a shop steward or shop stewards.
Affiliates must provide all the necessary resources to members and shop stewards in making these elections a worthwhile exercise. This must include measures to assist members in evaluating the performance of shop stewards for the period under review.
This must be coupled with a strong media strategy on the part of all affiliates in order to maximise participation by members.
All affiliates must develop a comprehensive data base of all their shop stewards and forward this information to COSATU.
To effect the 6th National Congress resolution, within one month of the shop stewards elections, all newly elected shop stewards must be inducted on the Union Constitution and recognition agreements. (SAMWU)
Prioritise political education to give depth and strength to our organisations at every level.
Engage in the mass politicisation of the workers to build a class-consciousness and an understanding of the role, nature and ultimate aims of our trade unions.
Appoint political commissars in every province/ region to be responsible for the political direction of union action.
Educate a core of cadres, including union decision makers and organisers in class politics and deploy them in every sector. This should also include a systematic programme to develop a larger pool of working class theoreticians. The education structures of the federation are directed to play a prominent role in implementation of his training and development. The COSATU CEC should monitor and evaluate progress made on this cadreship development programme.
Place socialism, solidarity and worker control at the top of key meeting agendas. (NUM)
Areas of training:
Elements of industrial policy
Collective bargaining issues including basic issues such as reading a pay slip, tax deductions, sectoral agreements, collection of demands etc.
Labour market with focus on new laws (LRA, BCEA, Skills etc.)
Politics including the NDR, socialism
Policy formulation process and membership involvement.
Macro-economic policy e.g. GEAR
Reading of pay slips
Formulation of demands
COSATU to support weaker unions with training and assist with materials development.
Labour Service Organisations to assist with research, training, materials development and running of specialised courses.
Management to give paid time off for shop stewards for training and assist with resources e.g. equipment, finance
Institutions outside the labour movement i.e. technikons can assist in the provision of specialised courses that can lead to accreditation when commissioned.
Data should be collected by affiliates and sent to COSATU Head Office.
CEC agenda to include reports on training.
Department of Labour should release money for Shop Stewards training.
Affiliates to create and maintain database on the type of training offered and the recipient thereof.
Organisers should have a role in training.
In order to realise training on the areas identified the affiliate Education Departments, in conjunction with Organisers, should develop a syllabus for on-going shop steward training on the identified areas, taking into account new developments in the labour field and dynamics in the relevant sector.
Training must also include issues on participatory budgeting processes, for example, understanding and participation in budgetary processes at National, Provincial and local government level is important.
The primary aim of these training programmes must be to enhance and develop a working class consciousness among members. The COSATU education department must play a central role in regard to the above.
Option 1: COSATU and affiliates must also debate the issue of whether Union based education should be accredited. (SAMWU)
Option 2: Training to be accredited. (NUMSA)
There can be no doubt that for years now we have neglected the conscious effort to develop the second layer of leadership. The result is that in the long term we will begin to get undeveloped and untrained people from this core into the national level.
A menu of courses should be developed for this area of education. Below are some of the areas that we should train our local, branch, regional and provincial leadership on:
Policy formulation and involvement of membership
Basic socio-economic issues
Politics - NDR and socialism (NUMSA; Exco)
There must be a conscious and on-going endeavour by COSATU and affiliates on building and developing this layer of leadership.
A worker biased pool/core of comrades to be identified to undergo this training programme.
COSATU NEDCOM must immediately develop programmes and syllabi to target this pool.
COSATU NEDCOM must also develop guidelines to assist affiliates develop specific programmes relating to their sectors. (SAMWU)
There is also little training taking place for this layer of leadership! We assume that once a person is elected into a national position he/she no longer requires training and development. This we do at our own peril.
The CEC and EXCO should be divided into portfolio committees focusing on the main issues that the Federation is involved in. This should include:
Basic training on political economy and economics
Advanced training on economics and finance, i.e. training on budgetary issues
Analyse economic trends in the world and how South Africas economy features
Special focus on:
Macro economic policies of developing nations
Macro economic policy and its effect on employment
Basic training on:
Balance of payment issues e.g. current and capital issues
Currency fluctuation related issues, e.g. Rand versus Dollar, Euro versus Dollar etc.
Issues of inflation/deflation and their effect on the standard of living for society especially workers and the poor.
Need to link with NIEP and NALEDI to help effect the above.
Need to draw full time Shop Stewards with potential into the commission.
All labour market legislation in South Africa
The key role is to defend these pieces of legislation from attack by those wanting to reverse our gains. The commission would need to liaise with Department of Labour inspectorate to check application of these laws and the extent to which they are compromised.
What is industrial policy
What is trade policy
Link between the two
Role of technology
This training should include the same issues as the second layer leadership with the difference that more advanced courses shall be developed. This should include special training through technikons and universities. The specialisation training should not be limited to the national leadership. People with potential for further education should be identified in every region.
In addition to the above paragraph we propose that the CEC and the CEC sub committee on international affairs should develop its understanding on how the international institutions function and how they can be used to advance the workers agenda.
This can be done in the form of workshops and seminars and or diploma and university degrees tailor-made for this purpose.
SADC how it operates and its various sub-structures
OAU - how it operates and its various sub-structures
UN how it operates and its various organs
ILO how it operates and its various structures
Bretton Woods structures and how they operate
The international trade union movement and its various components
The multi-lateral and bilateral trade agreements South Africa has negotiated, or is negotiating.
Relationship with the DTI and DFA
COSATU should look at ways of recognising our leaders to maintain them within the labour movement and to give them job satisfaction:
expose them to other organisations of civil society
target training to those who have potential regardless of their level.
need to commission research on incentives "monetary and accreditation" for leadership, (shop stewards and staff)
Introduce Trade Union education at schools, technikons and universities.
This programme should not only focus on leadership at National level. It should also include training and developing COSATU and Affiliate leadership at Regional/Provincial level. (Exco; SAMWU; NUMSA)
COSATU must seriously consider the establishment of an academy/school of excellence that will assist in the effective realisation of the above programmes. Internationally, many Trade Union Federations and their Affiliates have established such academies/schools. Programmes outlined below should give strategic guidance on how such institution can play its role in the development our leadership and cadreship (SAMWU; NUMSA)
Our main weakness in this area is that outside the collective bargaining, arbitration, organisational management and a few others there is not focussed training of staff in the federation. For example, when we employ an organiser we do not spend resources to make him/her a better organiser.
Very soon (2000) all unions shall belong to a SETA and pay a 0.5% levy and ultimately a 1% levy for staff training.(Exco)
Courses for education and training programme:
collective agreements/negotiation skills
promote gender sensitivity
health and safety
legal, economic and political studies
LSOs and other accredited organisations and internal union resources to provide training.
Content areas of training must be kept internal to ensure union control over the politics of training develop its own standards and materials.
Staff must contribute to the development of the union for a fixed number of years once they obtain qualification so that they dont run away and look for greener pastures. Some contractual obligation to retain staff once they qualify. (NUMSA)
1. The following should be agreed as the roles of COSATU:
1.1 To be a powerful and effective representative organisation of the workers of South Africa (the workers parliament).
1.2 To maximise the influence of organised workers on the political and socio-economic environment, in which they live and work.
1.3 In order to fulfil its role as a representative organisation COSATU must have:
1.4 The effective implementation of decisions and policies. This can only be achieved by:
1.4.1 Establishing appropriate structures to deliver on the organisations agreed priorities.
1.4.2 Employing skilled and committed staff who are motivated and focussed in their work.
1.4.3 Harnessing the resources of affiliates ensuring that a coordinated effort is achieved around federation priorities.
1.5 In order to fulfil its role in maximising the influence of workers COSATU must:
1.5.1 Monitor changes in work patterns and guide the movement in adapting to meet the changing needs of unions and workers.
1.5.2 Organise or facilitate the organisation of unemployed workers and workers in the Micro-economic /informal sector.
1.5.3 Build sustainable and responsive Alliance structures.
1.5.4 Take a lead in the building a Popular Movement for Transformation, including a strong womens Movement.
1.5.5 Place the Federation at the forefront of the campaign for job creation and full employment.
1.5.6 Co-ordinate the work of unions in sectors (Cartels) e.g. co-ordination of public sector unions around the implementation of transformation policies and strategies.
1.5.7 Effectively deploy COSATU cadres and establish processes for maintaining the involvement of such cadres in the process of carrying forward agreed policies.
1.5.8 Influence, and assist affiliates in influencing, legislation, ensuring that the Federation makes maximum use of legislation when it is in place. The Federation must also be able to adapt its structures and policies to respond to new situations created by legislation.
1.6 There is a need to agree some guiding principle for the Federation. It is suggested that the Federation commit itself to:
1.6.1 The highest possible standards of service to members.
1.6.2 Eliminating inefficiency and unnecessary bureaucracy.
1.6.3 Efficient and appropriate use of resources. There must be a recognition that COSATU resources include the resources available within individual affiliates and that these should be available to the Federation.
1.6.4 Being a "good employer".
1.6.5 Attracting a high calibre of cadre to work in COSATU.
1.7 Recommendations on practical Measures.
1.7.1 Recognising the constitutional powers and responsibilities vested in the NOBs and the EXCO this congress should give guidance rather than make hard and fast decisions on how the above can be implemented. Congress must make its view very clear, so that the new leadership is in no doubt about the need to address these difficult organisational questions.
1.7.2 We believe that some of the problems are of such a nature that there is a need to bring in some special expertise to assist the NOBs in tackling them. If the federation is to achieve its goals and become flexible and responsive to fast changing situations, there will need to be very great changes to the way we work.
1.7.3 It is recommended that a small team be formed by the EXCO, headed by the General Secretary that will be charged with seeing through the changes that are needed in the organisational structures and processes within the federation. This team should commission outside expertise to assist with the review.
1.7.4 The Team should report to EXCO in six months on progress made.
1.7.5 It follows that the interesting and innovative ideas contained in the Secretariat for reviving some aspects of the Federations work, particularly those around policy desks, should be evaluated as part of the wider Organisational Development process (NEHAWU)
1. COSATU and its affiliates must:
2.1. An economics commission. This core should focus on broad macro-economic issues, including the Public Finance and Monetary chambers agenda. This should be a specialised unit and should deal with among other things, the following:
2.2 A Labour Market Commission. We need to establish a core team beyond the labour market chamber delegates. It will need specialised training on:
2.3 Trade and Industry commission. This core should focus on the following key questions and provide solutions to these:
2.4 International Affairs commission. This committee should receive training on issues such as our bilateral relations, ICFTU, SATUCC, OATUU as well as WTO, UN, etc.
2.5 A committee on internal relations focusing on political engagement with the Alliance and Mass Democratic Movement.
2.6 A committee on gender affairs, which will assist in developing a political content to our women empowerment, programmes.
The jobs and poverty campaign is divided into 3 categories: job creation; job retention and poverty
The Federation must ensure that the decisions of the job summit are implemented without delay. Issues that require further negotiations should be taken up at the Alliance level and through the process of drafting an Alliance programme or a government five-year programme.
The COSATU CEC should immediately identify and develop mechanisms to pursue outstanding issues that still have to be taken through the Alliance process (SAMWU)
COSATU should ensure that sustainable jobs are created through proper utilisation of the job creation fund to alleviate unemployment, which is one of the underlying causes of crime. (NUM)
Workers contributions towards the job creation fund should be on a continuous bi-annual basis rather than once-off. Part of the strategy to sustain the fund will be realised through on going contributions. (SAMWU)
COSATU should in line with its current policy decisions initiate debate on how the accumulated funds can be used. Consideration of investment on social and public works programmes such as building of houses as outlined in the Social Equity and Job Creation document and the Central Committee resolution. This matter must be given serious and urgent attention by the Trustees.
The COSATU CEC should also intensify the campaign to stop the flight of capital and ensure that there is promotion of investment into the domestic market, consistent with our declaration on GEAR, Social Equity document and Job Summit Resolutions.
There is no doubt that job losses have been severe. Figures released by the quarterly reports of the Reserve Bank and by the Statistics Services confirm this. The irony is that the Federation has not campaigned in any visible way to highlight and oppose these retrenchments. This must end with this Special National Congress. A massive campaign should be launched targeting individual workplaces intending to retrench workers through industrial area committees and locals.
The Special National Congress should advance the commitment made by the Minister of Labour and the ANC election manifesto to amend section 189 of the Labour Relations Act in order to make retrenchments a mandatory negotiations matter instead of a matter for consultation. The special measurers to protect farm and domestic workers including the introduction of the minim living wage for farm and domestic workers should be implemented without delay.
The indications that jobs in the Public Sector will be cut soon will not only demoralise the workers but will also add to the numbers of the unemployed and COSATU should vigorously campaign against this action. (Exco)
There is a need to build the campaign to stop retrenchments as outlined in the Social Equity and Job Creation document and as per Central Committee decision.
COSATU must build and strengthen campaigns against all activities that lead to job losses, including privatisation of public services in all spheres of government.
We should launch a campaign to negotiate that the severance package to be increased to one-month for every year of service. COSATU must be against the present provision of one week, which was Labours demand ten years ago. This is to make it difficult for those companies who retrenches not because they experience genuine financial problems, but close because they have made more that sufficient profits. (SAMWU)
The report commissioned by the Deputy President as well as the Poverty Hearings organised by SANGOCO reminded us of a need to have a focused campaign, highlighting the plight of millions trapped in poverty. The inaugural Central Committee resolution in this regard serves as a useful framework for the campaign.
Congress also re-affirm the resolution of the inaugural Central Committee as the framework around which COSATU should base and develop the campaign against poverty.
As a step towards the implementation of the resolution, COSATU must ensure that programmes adopted by Local Government are geared towards alleviating poverty. COSATU must in the context of local government, fight for formulation and adoption of integrated development plans that amongst other seeks to achieve this.
The Special Congress also re-affirms the position as stated in the Social Equity and Job Creation document.
COSATU must support the on-going Jubilee 2000 action calling for a write-off of all debt incurred by the poorest countries, and a re-negotiation of the terms of debt of those developing countries whose social programmes are hampered by debt-repayment schedules and terms.
In this context, COSATU should embark on a campaign to have South Africas apartheid debt written-off and implementation of Jobs Summit agreement on Prescribed Assets. This will assist COSATUs campaign to ensure that the state plays its role as the major provider of jobs with decent wage levels. This will also help in the campaign for a social wage -- which includes the establishment of a basic national social security system, a national retirement fund, supporting the government proposals of a national health system, access to water, affordable transport, etc. (SAMWU)
The campaign should be revived. We should move away from solidarity statements to a meaningful solidarity action. The Federation should coordinate this campaign. This can only happen if the Federation establishes a structure that will be used to plan and execute a strategy developed by the constitutional structures. For this, affiliates have to play a meaningful role during the process. This includes ensuring that the coordinating structures have all the relevant information from affiliates.
The campaign should allow a situation where we are able to announce the key issues that affiliates shall be fighting for in a year or during a negotiation round. This should include evaluation and planning for the next round of negotiations.
The Living wage campaign should be revived and there should be on-going reviews on an annual basis.
The campaign must integrate the struggle to establish a national minimum wage to cover the most vulnerable sectors, and the COSATU struggle aimed at closing the wage gap.
Affiliates should intensify the campaign for equal pay for equal work in their sectors.
Coordination of the campaign should be both at National and Regional/Provincial level so assistance can be given to those sectors which have no Collective Bargaining structures. (SAMWU; EXCO)
In last four years, we have witnessed the commercial banks (and organised micro-lending industry) attack on the working class, the middle strata, and the poor through high interest rates increases, as well as other forms of exploitation - debt bondage and excessive banks charges - are on the increase. In the last two years, COSATU has responded to the commercial banks interest rate hike by spearheading a partially successful Campaign against Interest Rate rises. The movement successfully brought together various progressive groups and organisations, some of which were very remote to us, organisationally.
While the problem of interest rate hikes should continue to be a focus of our campaign. COSATU should extend the scope of the campaign. Emphasis should shift from lower interest rates to the demands for lower charges, end township redlining (exclusion of black working class community access to credit), and towards a strategy of organising a movement of bank (but not just bank debtors) debtors. This could include a variety of consumers groups, taxi associations, small business associations, church groups, CBOs and so on. (NEHAWU)
The congress should consider a call to pressure international financial institutions to withdraw their intention and statements which impact negatively upon our sensitive economic activities, such as the gold mining sector. The current crisis in the gold mining sector is primarily due to the intention of the IMF and central banks to sell some of their gold reserves. Already such a call has impacted negatively upon employment where more than 100 000 jobs have been lost in the gold mining sector. This translates into socio-economic disaster that will not be easy to overcome.
Although a call for the scrapping of debt from developing countries has long been on the agenda of the federation, this should not be seen as a rejection of the intention by IMF to scrap the debt. And instead of exploring the option of selling gold for the intended debt relief, an option that is undoubtedly detrimental to our economy, other alternatives should be considered that will not disadvantage the beneficiaries in general and the South African gold mining sector in particular. (NUM)
Occupational health should be seen as part of caring for the nation
Better co-ordination between the Dept of Health & Labour on Occupational Health Consolidation of all occupational health matters under the Dept of Labour Workers Clinic to be established in all provinces.
Support for the National Health System with a National Health Insurance
Community reps to sit on Boards of hospitals and clinics (NUMSA)
COSATU and Affiliates must establish Health, Safety and Environment committees. This will assist Affiliates in developing clear strategies to implement the programmes for their specific sectors.
The COSATU Parliamentary Unit should draft a critique of the Environment Bill. This will assist COSATU and Affiliates in preparing their inputs before the Bill becomes an Act. (SAMWU)
Since the 1997 Congress the relentless advance of HIV and AIDS has continued. The dangers to the country are evident. Life expectancy will reduce to 40-45 over the next ten years; health care costs will be beyond the capacity of survivors to pay for. The leadership of the union movement and other progressive forces will be decimated. In short the revolutionary transformation taking place in South Africa in fact the revolution itself is threatened.
COSATU affiliates and members are in the front line in the war against AIDS. The unions are the only organisations where workers are organised and in a position to act against AIDS. It is therefore vital that the trade union movement addresses the issue. It is now clear that publicity and condom distribution, though important, are not enough. 3,5 million people in South are infected with the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) In 1998 two million people in Africa died of AIDS.
The war against HIV/AIDS cannot be won by the government alone.
COSATU has not implemented a comprehensive strategy to deal with this. COSATU " To build a Popular Movement to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS and ensure that those with the virus get support and are cared for" (NEHAWU)
To use the framework policy adopted by the 29 - 30 March CEC as a useful start to a more coordinated campaign - step up its implementation of educational programmes in all developmental programmes in order to eradicate ignorance which destroys communities and strategise to realise its commitment to the partnership against this epidemic. Other measures adopted by the CEC include:
The Shop Steward Magazine should continue to have a focus on this crisis.
Work in the most vulnerable sections of the working class such as transport workers and workers in the single sex hostels should be intensified.
As part of fighting the silence of those who are carrying the HIV/AIDS virus, COSATU should encourage its leadership and members to voluntarily take HIV/AIDS test and break silence. A new culture of openness must be encouraged, including encouraging parents to talk openly to their children, friends and relatives about this epidemic and the need to use condoms.
A more detailed COSATU policy must be developed and put into a single document. Such a policy must also relate to the bigger question imposed by the epidemic given our poor social security net. COSATU must carry out a study on the socio-economic impact the epidemic will have on the country. This should be linked to issue of affordability and availability of drugs such as AZT that prolong the life of those carrying the disease. Campaign in support of the governments progressive legislation on medicines to campaign against profiteering off HIV/AIDS drugs
To participate in the initiatives of other strategic organs of society( women, youth, NGOs, CBO, government) both qualitatively and quantitatively, HIV/AIDS thrives most in a society plagued by division and all forms of discrimination and we cannot afford any further divisions.
To campaign for provision of a supportive environment for workers and people with HIV/AIDS
To continue to work with the Treatment Action Campaign and its provincial structures;
To establish a COSATU HIV/AIDS desk/focus group within existing Health and Safety committees
To facilitate the release of shop stewards and union leaders to work in HIV/AIDS programmes.
To raise awareness amongst COSATU members of the information about HIV/AIDS treatment and care.
To develop and distribute information and training packs for shop-stewards and union leaders which include guidance on giving positive assistance to workers living with HIV/AIDS affected by discrimination.
To engage government and big business to provide funds for HIV/AIDS programmes, and facilities for people living with HIV/AIDS.
to engage government to invest more resources on scientific research, to establish a cure.
To engage Bargaining councils on the issue of funds and to ensure that Training Boards are linking education and the issue of HIV/AIDS.
To support the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS to confidentiality.
It should be noted that previous COSATU resolutions refer to people living with HIV/AIDS as "AIDS sufferers". This term is not acceptable to people living with HIV/AIDS internationally and locally. So, all future COSATU documents and policies on HIV/AIDS should not use this term. Instead, we should use the term "people living with HIV/AIDS". The term "AIDS sufferers" is based on the stigmatisation of people living with HIV/AIDS leading to incorrect perceptions. As a result, there is still a lot of ignorance and incorrect information about the spread of HIV/AIDS and whether people living with HIV/AIDS can be productive. For these reasons, the term "AIDS sufferers" is negative and disempowering.(TGWU)
To call for: HIV/AIDS to be declared a national emergency.
The immediate formation of a National AIDS Commission that will be mandated to assist with the implementation and monitoring of an emergency plan of prevention, treatment and care.
A national Tripartite Conference on AIDS in the Workplace (before June 2000). This should lead to:
Pressure on business to support and contribute to a fund to carry out HIV/AIDS education and develop workplace policies for all industries and workplaces in South Africa.
A national Code of Good Practice on AIDS and Employment to be agreed by the Employment Equity Commission by the end of 1999, and to include clear provisions that will protect workers from unfair discrimination.
Ensure that the Minimum Benefits under the Medical Schemes Act provide affordable and effective treatment benefits for people with HIV/AIDS.
Join the Treatment Action Campaign.
Key Elements of the Strategy will be to:
Assist individual unions to conduct research amongst their members, including testing, to establish the extent of the impact made by HIV/AIDS in the various sections of union membership and to assist in the development of union strategies. Such testing would be carried out with the consent of comrades and in the context of a carefully planned process involving counselling and support. Unions must ensure that appropriate care and support is provided to comrades identified as infected with the virus as a result of volunteering to be tested. The impact of the disease on individuals should be monitored and recorded and used to raise awareness and inform the development of union and Federation policy.
Develop, with the assistance of specialist AIDS organisations, counselling and other services to union members and staff.
Help establish in each union processes that will enable union members, office bearers and officials to "Break the Silence", to go public and therefore build a consciousness within the unions around HIV/AIDS.
Produce an education and training strategy, including materials and workshops that will develop the understanding of shop stewards and members around HIV/AIDS.
Engage employers organisations and negotiate with employers to ensure that every employer implements policies that assist in every possible way to combat the spread of AIDS and support those affected by the disease.
Destigmatisation Campaign (Focus week, T-shirts, Posters etc.)
Funds and fundraising: Business Companies doing work with the unions and providing services to members, 1999 2 001.
(NUM; SADTU; NEHAWU; TGWU; SAMWU; NUMSA)
This Special Congress resolves to reject and condemn the fast-tracking of tariff reductions in labour-intensive sectors of the economy, and
To launch a campaign for the change of government's current tariff reduction programme.
To ensure that such a change be aimed at stemming the rate at which tariffs are being reduced, to be at least in line with WTO requirements, and
To secure effective trade union participation in all multi and bilateral trade negotiations,
To secure appropriate government assistance to cushion the detrimental effects on industry and workers of any tariff reduction programs. (SACTWU)
Call for appropriate measures to be included in the Insolvency Act, which would compel liquidators to explore, as a legislated compulsory requirement, 'rescue plans' as a first priority, in the event of liquidation proceedings. (SACTWU; SAMWU)
We note that processes are underway to review the new labour laws in terms of their impact on job creation and retention.
COSATU reject any changes that will lead to the downgrading of existing rights. Remain opposed to all the talks about the need to make the labour market more flexible. The objective of reviewing labour laws should be the improvement of workers rights. We insist that any changes in existing labour legislation must be tabled in NEDLAC.
Those representing labour in NEDLAC must consult broadly and seek mandates when this process of reviewal is in motion. This process of reporting back and getting mandates must be geared towards mounting a campaign led by COSATU against the erosion of existing workers rights.
To advance and consolidate labour laws, COSATU should as a matter of priority put the following on the agenda:
Public accountability legislation: South African companies, including State Owned Enterprises and the Public Service, can only disclose information for collective bargaining and codetermination purposes (LRA 1995, section 16). Even then, there are constraints and parameters within which they can disclose; therefore information disclosure can be denied.
Disclosure of information for the public is not yet legislated for. There are already indications that some companies, including State Owned parastatal corporation will apply for exemptions. This piece of legislation will be important in the light of the massive retrenchments and the infantile campaign by our class opponents to make labour laws that govern the labour market in South Africa more flexible.
This could be realised by a protest action that will pull along the Alliance, the MDM and other sections of society beyond this fold. The congress could identify one of the public holidays to launch a campaign.
As COSATU we should welcome the initiative by the Department of Labour to consult the federation in the formulation of its 5-year plan. The Special Congress must take this forward by:
4.1 Prohibition of labour brokers
4.2 The right to strike over dismissals
4.2 Mandatory paid time-off for shop stewards and office-bearers
4.3 Prohibition of the right by employers to hire scab labour. (NUMSA)
8.1 Encouraging affiliates/clusters of affiliates to meet with the new Ministers to:
8.2 Find out what the 5- year plan of the Ministry is
8.3 To put to the Ministry priorities for labour
8.4 Tasking NALEDI and the Parliamentary Office with the responsibility of co-ordinating and assisting with these meetings.
Clustering of unions for these meetings can take the following form:
NUM/NUMSA/CEPPWAWU/SAMWU Minister of Mineral & Energy Affairs
CWU/NUMSA Minister of Communications
TGWU/SATAWU Minister of Transport
NEHAWU/SADTU/POPCRU Minister of Public Service & Administration
SAMWU Minister of Provincial & Local Government
POPCRU Ministers of Safety & Security and Correctional Services
NEHAWU Minister of Health
FAWU/SAAPAWU Minister of Agriculture & Land Affairs
SADTU/NEHAWU Minister of Education
SACCAWU & SASBO Minister of Finance
SACCAWU Minister of Tourism
SAMWU/CEPPWAWU/SAAPAWU Minister of Water Affairs & Forestry
Manufacturing unions Minister of Trade & Industry.
In these engagements, the unions must be guided by the federations policies. The process must be as follows:
10.1 Engagement of ministries from the time of Special Congress until the end of the year
10.2 Submission of reports on these engagements for consideration at the first CEC in 2 000.
10.3 REC to be mandated on how this process can be replicated at a provincial level.
- Measurable targets and a Political Programme
1. The following are possible mechanisms that unions should consider implementing (many of which have been adopted by some unions).
Additional ex-officio positions on constitutional structures
Reserved seats for women
Deputy Secretary position at regional and local level
Representation of sector co-ordinators on constitutional structures
Targeting women for education programmes
- Additional ex-officio positions on constitutional structures
Unions can include women on constitutional structures through the use of ex-officio positions. This enables women to be exposed to these structures and to participate in union decision-making. SACCAWU has two ex-officio positions on each of the RECs and LECs comprised of gender coordinators (worker and official).
These ex-officio representatives also attend COSATU constitutional structures as part of the SACCAWU delegation. SACCAWU combines the strategy of ex-officio representation with an empowerment programme and gender-focused campaigns and collective bargaining.
- Portfolio positions
Some unions (e.g. SADTU) have portfolio positions on their national, provincial, regional and local executive structures. This extends the leadership base at these levels beyond office bearer positions and potentially creates space for additional seats that can be occupied by women. The drawback of this strategy is that firstly most portfolio positions have tended to be occupied by men (apart from the gender convenor) and secondly, the portfolio positions do not form part of the Office Bearers.
- Reserved seats for women
Unions could decide to earmark certain positions for women on executive structures. This mechanism could be combined with a mentorship programme. The reserved seats could either be additional seats or office bearer positions. In the implementation of this mechanism it would be important to ensure that women are not locked permanently to these less powerful positions.
- Deputy Secretary position at regional and local levels
Some unions (e.g. SADTU) have Deputy Secretaries at regional level. This position could potentially be used as a reserved seat for women in order to develop women leadership. The drawbacks are similar to those mentioned above, that is relegating women to deputising positions only.
- Quota system
Some unions have adopted quota systems e.g. NEHAWU 50%; SATAWU 20% by 2001; CEPPWAWU 25% and SAMWU 30%. The key feature of a quota system is that the union adopts a fixed percentage for the representation of women in constitutional structures, meetings and education programmes. The positive feature of this strategy is that it enables women to be represented directly in office bearer positions, whereas other strategies mentioned here create additional positions. A central challenge is the effective implementation of the quota. Nevertheless it has been largely successful in a number of unions internationally, provided it is combined with other strategies. It is particularly important that the unions implement mechanisms to create a supportive environment for women leaders.
This approach sets the target for womens representation in leadership structures according to the proportion of women members in the union or federation. The benefit of this approach is that it reflects the true composition of the union membership. The drawback is that in male dominated sectors womens leadership will remain at a low level.
- Representation of sector co-ordinators on constitutional structures
Some unions have increased the number of sectors co-ordinators especially for those industries that are female dominated. These sector co-ordinators usually sit on constitutional structures, thus extending the exposure of women leaders to decision-making bodies. This is also an important step to ensure that women workers are well-represented in union policy-making particularly since these sectors tend to be characterised by poor working conditions and insecurity.
- Targeting women for education programmes
Many unions have acknowledged the fact that the proportion of women in education programmes tends to be extremely low. The disproportionately low percentages of women in education programmes has also been highlighted by DITSELA. The Congress resolution commits the federation and affiliates to ensuring that women participate in such programmes. Having reflected upon the low levels of womens participation in basic shop stewards training, SACCAWU took a decision at the end of 1998 that 60% of delegates to shop steward training should be women. Other unions should consider establishing mechanisms to ensure that a certain proportion of women are targeted and included in education programmes. In this way a cadreship of women shop stewards and union leadership can be built. (Gender CC)
- Political Programme
The political programme is intended as an integrated strategy to complement measures to increase womens representation in leadership through the empowerment of women workers and women leadership. The political programme should focus on a range of areas including campaigns, education, building dynamic gender structures and taking up gender struggles in society. The overall aim of the political programme is the empowerment of women in the trade unions and raising consciousness of both men and women throughout the Federation. The following section presents a proposed programme for 1999.
- Education programme
Education and training programme targeting local office bearers, local executive committee members and women shopstewards or workers.
COSATU Regional Educators to coordinate an empowerment programme for women. Educators and the National Gender Committee should hold a strategising meeting where a programme is drawn up.
Each COSATU region should target one local as a pilot where each affiliate will forward 10 women (Local office bearers or shopstewards) to participate in the programme. Each of the delegates will be required to attend the COSATU local. Each of the delegates to attend basic shopsteward training by the affiliate (or other relevant courses). The Regional Educator will organise a series of topical discussion forums . The region will hold gender training workshops
- Regional / National gender training for men
COSATU National Education Department should host a workshop for leadership on building awareness and understanding of gender issues. The February EXCO made a commitment to this programme following the failure of the programme in 1998.
- Electing women shop stewards
COSATU and affiliates to embark on a high profile campaign to ensure that women are elected as shopstewards. The following are possible elements to such campaigns.
COSATU to produce publicity and leaflets highlighting the importance of electing women as shop stewards.
Organisers to circulate lists of women that are available to stand as shop stewards. Unions to establish a mentorship system in which women are elected as alternates
- Building gender structures
The building of gender structures is an important strategy for building activity and struggle amongst women at shopfloor level. NALEDI will embark on research on the effectiveness of gender structures from March to June 1999. The research project should utilise participatory research methods to ensure that the research process is used as a means to rebuild structures and develop proposals and strategies to assist in building dynamic and vibrant workplace engines. The NGC will prioritise the building of gender structures as an important element of the political programme and as an important linkage with education and campaigns.
- Taking up gender and workplace struggles in society
Part of building workers movement involves taking up struggles that empower and conscientise women workers. The transformation of our society requires that we take up concrete struggles that build worker power and challenge patriarchal and capitalist relations. This is an extremely important element of the political programme, since womens emancipation is not only about representation and structures but it is fundamentally about transforming power relations through basic struggles.
It is proposed that COSATU embark on a parental rights campaign drawing in other organisations and groups in society.
The campaign should focus on childcare facilities. The campaign should aim to achieve the following:
Highlight the responsibility of the state and employers in the provision of childcare.
Build on and deepen gains that have been made in legislation.
Take up the Jobs Summit Agreement on an investigation into childcare facilities.
Struggle for parental rights in collective agreements
This campaign should form a central component of the building of a national womens movement that focuses on issues of concern to working class, poor and rural women.
It is further proposed that the campaign focus for the year 2000 should be Anti-Sexual Harassment.
- Political programme and measurable targets
submit reports on 1998 progress and plans for 1999
submit gender breakdown of shopstewards
keep data of women shopstewards
COSATU to monitor progress in implementation of resolution through affiliates submitting reports on an ongoing basis.
Develop a 3-year programme and link this to the resolution. One way to measure is to monitor how many women are part of office-bearers or occupy political leadership positions.
Shop Stewards, bargaining representatives to be trained on gender issues.
Increase employment of women through Employment Equity Act.
Develop specific campaigns to ensure more women are elected as Shop Stewards.
Confidence and character building and implementation of Employment Equity.
- Equality legislation
To develop a COSATU policy and programme on Equality and Human Rights.
To take up action for equality for lesbian and gay workers; and
To take up action for equality for workers living with disabilities.
A COSATU policy and programme on equality and human rights could include.
4.1 Actively supporting equality legislation, and involving COSATU members, shop stewards and leaders in the work of the Equality Alliance;
4.2 Developing a COSATU policy and programme on equality and human rights. This process could include the following:
The establishment of an Equality and Human Rights Desk in the COSATU head office with participation by all affiliates or the mandating of a specific structure to deal with this issue;
The identification and selection of issues of focus and work;
Building relationships and form alliances with progressive human rights organisations and networks.
Equality for workers living with disabilities could include:
5.1 Facilitating internal debate, discussion, and education in COSATU and all affiliates on issues affecting people and workers living with disabilities. This process could include the following:
development of guidelines for the organising of workers living with disabilities;
development of guidelines for support and empowerment of members of COSATU living with disabilities;
facilitation of relationship-building and networking with local, national and international organisations of people living with disabilities;
COSATU support for campaigns for change in legislation to outlaw unfair discrimination based on disability; and
COSATU working for the implementation of equality and non-discrimination in for workers living with disabilities, their partners and families through bargaining council agreements and other measures.
Equality for lesbian and gay workers could include:
6.1 Facilitating internal debate, discussion, and education in COSATU and all affiliates on issues affecting lesbian and gay workers. This process could include the following:
proposing change in legislation to outlaw unfair discrimination based on sexual orientation, such as employment benefits for lesbian and gay workers, their partners and families;
guidelines for support and empowerment of lesbian and gay members of COSATU;
facilitation of information-sharing and networking with international trade unions which have policies on lesbian and gay equality and international networks of lesbian and gay trade unionists. Many of our allied unions in the US, Britain, the Netherlands and Australia who have developed policies on lesbian and gay issues. (TGWU)
- Violence against women
Join the National Network on Violence Against Women (NNVAW) and its provincial structures;
Facilitate a programme for the release of shop stewards and union leaders to act as volunteers for organisations supporting women affected by violence against women;
Raise awareness amongst COSATU members of the prevalence of violence and abuse against women;
Raise violence and abuse against women as a bargaining issue which affects job performance, causes absenteeism and stress;
Develop policy and appropriate redress for women workers affected by violence and abuse through bargaining agreements. (TGWU)
We will strengthen our own media production. In so doing, we must use accessible language and design. We will discourage the use of difficult language.
Increase distribution of the Shopsteward, by advertisement in radio, newspapers, and web sites.
We need to revitalise the Internet briefs including a page of daily labour and economic news from newspapers.
Staff and office bearers need to be trained on various aspects of the media; including writing, presentation, design and audiovisual skills. (Exco)
COSATU and affiliates must:
In June last year, television was watched by 43% of the population on a daily basis, with SABC 1 being the most popular channel. There has been a steady increase in television receiver ownership and the uptake of licenses since 1995. The broadcast spectrum has also widened with the launch of E-TV. The local content stipulation as well as NUMSAs 25% stake on the station makes it important.
On the other hand, radio is the most popular medium in South Africa, with three fifths of the population listening daily. In addition to private and public stations, the IBA has licensed several community radio stations. Community radio is an important medium for the Federation because it reaches a more defined, geographically limited audience often in areas, which are ignored by the mainstream media. The inquiries that we receive from community radio stations indicate that they are keen to cover our issues,
Our communication needs to gradually skew towards the broadcast media public and community media in particular. We need to investigate the feasibility of programmatic relations with community radio stations and the rest of the broadcast media fraternity with a view to co-producing programmes,
As we did with the Job Creation Campaign, we need to sustain our television media production beyond advertisements to material that can be used in for worker education and general social consciousness formation, (Exco, NUMSA)
COSATU national campaigns committee consisting of Deputy President and National campaigns co-ordinator must be tasked to improve information flow to affiliates and vice versa.
COSATU to run a writers course for affiliates so they can produce their own publications.
Affiliates media/information officers should link up with COSATU media/ information structures.
Once this is in place, this media structure should assess whether there is a need for this media structure to continue meeting.
COSATU should publish an information bulletin at least once a month containing all the relevant information, including details of NEDLAC issues, parliamentary issues etc.
Secretariat of the Alliance must send monthly written reports to all alliance partners.
The regional media committees of COSATU should be strengthened to ensure exchange of information and co-ordination of activities. The regional media committee to comprise all affiliates.
There should be a quarterly campaigns bulletin to update affiliates on progress made and assessment of the different campaigns.
COSATU must have a programme to improve its organisational capacity to dissect and disseminate information.
Parliamentary office communication should be improved and be extended to all levels.
The Shopsteward should be used as an education and development tool for shop stewards. This should incorporate arts and culture issues to improve the bulletin. Crossword puzzles should capture the content. Extracts from industry agreements to be included as well as labour related acts. Widen its distribution and sell to the public. Should be made as easy as possible to read. Print in other languages as well.
COSATU must look at how its media can play a role in promoting our indigenous languages.
Produce fortnightly briefs but target poorly organised areas first.
Union investments in electronic media must influence the content of the station (radio) or channel (TV) to promote trade union issues.
Public broadcaster must also allocate more time to trade union issues.
Affiliates must establish mechanism to ensure that the contents of the Shop Steward magazine and other COSATU publications is discussed in all their structure meetings.
Affiliates must embark on campaign to encourage and enthuse members to write and submit articles for all publications.
This will ensure that articles in the Shop Steward Magazine do not only reflect developments at the National Offices of affiliates and COSATU. Greater emphasis should be given to developments on the ground in all the Provinces (SAMWU)
We have to guard against introducing Information and Technology for its own sake (i e technology driven solutions). But we have to see IT as a valuable tool (as business does) and we should use it where it benefits labour and helps us to improve our operations.
Office Applications: There is an ongoing need for COSATU to use office applications to improve administrative efficiency at all levels (e g word processors, spreadsheets, databases etc). This means ongoing updating of computer hardware and software at all levels of the federation. It also means keeping abreast of technology trends (e.g. voice computing).
Capacity Building: Technology is useless, and even degrades organisational effectiveness, without people sufficiently skilled to use it. This requires an ongoing programme of training and skills development for Federation staff to ensure that as a Federation we can work smarter and more effectively.
Y2K: Without proper Y2K preparation, the federation's ability to make use of IT will be in severe disarray on 1 January 2000. The IT Unit is concerned that very few affiliates seem to be taking Y2K seriously, and that almost none have Y2K programmes. Y2K preparation includes:
Preparing computers and computer programmes across the federation;
Ensuring that embedded systems (e g lifts, air conditioning, switchboards etc) will continue to work properly after 1 January 2000;
Ensuring that our affiliates have engaged with the possible social impacts (e.g. employer payroll failure, changes to shutdown and overtime arrangements, failure of plant equipment etc).
Communications Technology: COSATU needs to make far greater use of e-mail as a means of communication, both top-down and bottom-up. This should include dissemination of policy, of decisions, of news and information, of discussion and debate, and of mandating. The following steps are needed:
Intranet - we need to develop a Federation intranet for confidential information and documents. Such an intranet would restrict access to particular sign-on (with passwords) and could be used for CEC documents, minutes, confidential discussion documents, internal education materials etc.
Distribution Lists - we need a more effective system of distribution lists to facilitate circulation of information to target groups such as the press, COSATU affiliates, COSATU regions, affiliate regions and locals, education, media etc structures.
Discussion lists - e-mail lists can be used to promote discussion, debate or education on a range of policy, education and other issues through dissemination of information and comments etc.(Exco)
COSATU and affiliates to use e-mail at all levels of the federation and have Internet link. (NUMSA)
Dealing with the shift to an Information Economy: The federation needs to strategise its changing role and activities as economic activity both worldwide and in South Africa shifts from extractive (mining and agriculture) through industrial to a service / knowledge economy. This includes strategies to deal with work- force and workplace impacts on jobs and skills (e.g. job loss growth, skills downgrading, outsourcing, casualisation, privatisation, tele working). It also includes union strategies to organise the changing membership profile (e g membership benefits, white-collar strategies, and tele organising of tele-workers).(Exco)
To exploit information technology and communication systems as a major new area for the federation and its affiliates, and as an additional tool to help build organisation; that, in the short term, we launch a campaign to ensure dedicated access for each shop steward to computer, internet and e-mail facilities at each workplace.(SACTWU)
Intensify our communication and propaganda strategy. This could include the establishment of a national daily or weekly newspaper (in consultation with SACP and ANC), to be published in appropriate languages in order to inform, educate and politicise in the peaceful pursuit of socialism. We need to make more effective usage of electronic media especially radios to advance our propaganda. (NUM)
32.1 Access - we need to extend e-mail access beyond the privileged few at head office, down to regions, and to locals. We need to include as a collective bargaining demand the right of access for shopstewards to e-mail facilities (including training) at the shopfloor.
32.2 Internet - we need to build our internet facilities as an information resource, containing Federation and union policies, contact details (departments, unions, staff, responsibilities, phone numbers, e-mails, addresses etc), links to other useful internet resources. We should also include use of the internet as a research tool (e g developing anti-privatisation policy based on union experience elsewhere).
At the global level, there has been an expansion and increase of informal sector employment, which has bad working conditions and a lack of protection of the working people. This has led to the erosion of quality employment through adjustments such as sub-contracting and casualisation of work. This posses problems for the trade union movement. At the same time, policies and strategies pursued by the IMF and the World Bank in developing countries have resulted in job losses, reduced standard of living, starvation wages and cutbacks in government social spending. They undermine the sovereignty of nation states in determining their economic and social policies, inter alia through structural adjustment programmes.
Social security net - Removing government from playing a role in the economy and delivery of services will lead into the collapse of social security system.
Given the radical privatisation of health services, Congress urges Governments to be firm on the following social security net:
International labour movement should ensure that governments adhere to ILO Occupational Health and Safety standards.
Government/labour committees be established to determine appropriate compensations.
Governments should establish strong environmental policies that imposes penalty and rehabilitation against companies that do not adhere to such policies.
The Trade Union movement internationally should insist upon the private sector to contribute a portion of their profit towards a Social Plan Fund aimed at training and establishing community development projects.
Furthermore, social inequality within and between nations is on the increase. The growth of world economy has for many years been unevenly distributed and as such has been unable to create adequate jobs to deal with high rate of unemployment and poverty. As a result of these there has been an increase in migration as migrants search for work.
Congress therefore commits itself to macro-economic policies that move away from neo-liberal thinking to socially responsible approaches, the idea of full employment (ability of economy to respond positively to economic and social needs) as a way of dealing with poverty and unemployment.
Congress also undertakes to do a major review of the role and functions of the IMF, the World Bank and other similar institutions to ensure that their policies and programmes are consistent with the idea of balanced economic growth and development, hence calling for an end to the burden of debts placed on the suffering people of Third World countries.
By the same token, the congress should consider a call to pressure international financial institutions to withdraw their intention and statements which impact negatively upon our sensitive economic activities, such as the gold mining sector. The current crisis in the gold mining sector is primarily due to the intention of the IMF and central banks to sell some of their gold reserves. Already such a call has impacted negatively upon employment where more than 100 000 jobs have been lost in the gold mining sector. This translates into socio-economic disaster that will not be easy to overcome.
On the other hand, although a call for the scrapping of debt from developing countries has long been on the agenda of the federation, this should not be seen as a rejection of the intention by IMF to scrap the debt. However, instead of exploring the option of selling gold, other alternatives should be considered that will not disadvantage the beneficiaries. (NUM)
All over the world, the institutions of democracy of which the trade union movement forms part are faced with enormous challenges of adapting to the unnatural yet prevailing forces of globalization. Capitalism in the form of globalization is organizing and moving from defensive position it found itself in to an offensive strategy of attacking the working class on all fronts. As a result of this neo-liberal philosophy market forces and the power of financial institutions in particular have become dominant. The net results are:
Congress therefore re-affirms its commitment to international solidarity, building social cohesion and recognizes the need to completely eliminate child labour.
Furthermore, Congress re-affirms the need to continue its affiliation to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions and to the establishment, maintenance and consolidation of South/South relations.
Contact with other trade union organizations is desirable and necessary for better understanding between workers of all countries; therefore, Congress affirms the principle of exchange visits amongst trade union representatives. Africans must visibly be represented within the International Trade Secretariats so as to fully identify with these international structures to fully reflect diversity of cultures.
There is a need to speedily expedite the solidarity fund and ensure its utilization to build the trade unions in the continent and eradicate the dependency syndrome on the West.(NUM)
1 Increase contributions on primary health care for people who cannot work due to reasons beyond their control, such as pensioners and the disabled, Trade Union movement at International level must insist on -
Provision of adequate disability grants and social pension (welfare intervention) For people placed out of employment, but could still work and do want to work - Governments should continue providing them with the Unemployment Insurance Fund support.
For work related injuries due to MNCs and TNCs compromising Health and Safety standards and environmental degradation-
13.1 Sub-contracting which undermines trade union rights worldwide.
13.2 Feminization of work - woman being the most affected by negative aspects of globalization.
13.3 Child labour as a result of global search for cheap labour.
13.4 Informalisation/Casualisation of work
13.5 Reduction of state role in the economy
Lome is being re-negotiated and an agreement has to be finalized by the end of March 2000. The new agreement has to be WTO compatible amongst which is the question of reciprocity. Short-term negative effects will further put workers of the region under strenuous circumstances.
Furthermore, the SA/EU TDCA comes into effect on the first of January 2000. Although this agreement is beneficial to the country in the long run, short-term effects are detrimental to our goals of job creation both domestically and regionally. Regional Trade Union co-operation has not been visible in these negotiations to outline future co-operation.
In this regard, Congress re-affirms the need to consolidate Regional Trade Union co-operation and ensure its visibility and influence in issues that will affect their members. Trade Union co-operation has to extend to active contributions by these bodies to discussions of peaceful resolutions of conflicts between and within our countries. (NUM)
Southern African Solidarity
This Special Congress resolves to strengthen our Southern African solidarity action by strengthening Southern African trade unions through concrete exchanges and/or the release of appropriate organising, education, administrative, collective bargaining and other resources.
The building and strengthening of Southern African shop stewards' councils; the launch of appropriate Southern African wide trade union campaigns, and strengthening SATUCC stepping up our fight for improved worker rights in other parts of Southern Africa.(SACTWU)
Affiliates must be given time frames to assist them to implement decisions on resolutions.
Affiliates should be assessed and give reports on progress of implementation. When affiliates do not keep to decisions, the constitution must be invoked. But it must be dealt with sensitively, otherwise workers could just resign and join another affiliate outside COSATU.
COSATU regions and locals should monitor implementation.
COSATU should be strict over attendance at Exco.
If affiliates dont attend, COSATU should intervene and follow up. (NUMSA)
Exco in October 1999 to lead this process.
COSATU must circulate data to affiliates on progress.
NEDLAC demarcation process to assist with demarcation of various industries
Affiliates should stop poaching. Those unions that must hand over members must discuss/explain COSATU resolution with the members.
All COSATU affiliates to establish common union structures nationally, regionally, locally to ensure accessibility to members and to render effective service.
Move towards super unions once scope is clarified/ scope of merger should be broadened beyond COSATU affiliates. NUMSA to spell out what it sees as broad sectors.
Look at international research on mergers. (NUMSA)
COSATU to assist affiliates to identify needs
Where no affiliate exists, affiliates to collaborate and share
COSATU regions to coordinate, locals to monitor and assist
Affiliates who need assistance should come forward or apply "efuna amanzi ma iye emfuleni"
COSATU should develop guidelines nationally on how resources can be shared COSATU to compel all unions to make available their resources, including human resources to the needy affiliates
COSATU to impose a penalty on those who do not comply with this resolution the 1980s consciousness must be revived (NUMSA)
Amend constitution to give more powers for NOBs to intervene in affiliates to assist with problems
Draw up Code of Conduct to guide COSATU and affiliates on this issue (NUMSA)
Standardise non-wage issues first
Look at setting minimum standards that cannot be varied downwards
Look at the issue of financial self-sufficiency to address the issue of staff wages
Second staff to assist other affiliates but with clear time frames and job descriptions (NUMSA)
COSATU to assess its assistance to SAAPAWU
SAAPAWU to detail the assistance it needs with clear time frames
COSATU to assist with the setting up of community advice offices to address grievances of domestic workers through training. Fundraise internationally to assist with this. Cooperate with existing advice offices, e.g. Black Sash
COSATU to investigate and monitor the development of a new Domestic Workers Union. COSATU organising department to guide process. Support it financially
In the interim, COSATU regional educator/organiser must assist these comrades until the finalisation of the merger between SASBO, FAWU, SACCAWU and others
Encourage merger of SAAPAWU with FAWU (NUMSA)
COSATU to revive its old resolution on organising the unemployed and to provide results of research that it did on the nature of organisation for the unemployed COSATU to ensure that Department of Labour provides training and retraining for retrenched workers and unemployed workers. COSATU and the government to monitor those prescriptions of the Skills Act are obeyed
COSATU locals to organise and build unity with unemployed workers to counter divisions developing between employed and unemployed Deal with unemployed through job creation trust and job creation forums Set aside funds and set up help desk for unemployed. COSATU should lead a process towards the building of a progressive and autonomous unemployed movement. Such a movement could include the "under-employed" or the self-employed organisations. We must learn from past attempts to organise in this sector and ensure that there is effective organisation and a clear role in terms of advice and assistance to unemployed people and practical job creation projects (NUMSA, NEHAWU)
We have seen attempts to incorporate these sections of the working class into the neo-liberal project and, for example, use unemployment as a weapon to divide the COSATU and the unemployed (e.g. the case of Malamulele). We have also seen an increase in Xenophobia amongst these groups and the dangers of such developments to the work of the federation are very great. Organising and influencing workers who are employed in co-ops, Non Governmental Organisations, the informal sector and the self-employed are important if we are to engage with some of the difficult social issues that confront us. (NEHAWU)
COSATU locals to involve themselves in community campaigns
Locals to involve alliance partners in these campaigns.
To revive locals there must be education of shopstewards with regard to the importance of COSATU locals and the role of shopstewards. Affiliates must support local activity
Define the role of COSATU locals and issues which should be focused on e.g. job creation; development; governance and others (NUMSA)