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Shopsteward Volume 27: Special Bulletin

COSATU Media Monitor COSATU Media Monitor COSATU Media Monitor


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Policy  |  Memorandum

Memorandum to government of South Africa and the employers

The Congress of South African Trade Unions and its affiliates, together with the community, have been here in the past to hand over memoranda to the employers of this province and the government of the Republic of South Africa and its provincial component.

We have received a number of responses which in our view confirm what we have said in the past - that the South African ruling class and the capitalist of this country do not have respect and interest for the poor working class who survive by selling their labour power. The responses continue to put profit before human beings and their need to earn a living and survive.

We are now more convinced that the capitalist system feels more comfortable when the working class and the poor are suffering and are dying of hunger, poverty and exploitation and they use the situation the working class find itself in to turn against each other. This is prompted by the observation that of all the people who died during the mine unrest and the violence that has taken place in the mines, no employer or a family of the employers have lost a life or got injured; all the people who died or got hurt come from the workers.

The capitalists of this country continue to undermine the labour laws and they use money to get away with murder. They continue to invite us to meetings which they know will not come out with anything fruitful for the workers. They continue to criticize us when we engage in industrial action, but we want to remind them that as workers of this country this is the only powerful tool that we possess, which is to withdraw our labour power and we will not be intimidated by anybody to not engage on an industrial action.

In the past we presented a memorandum which highlighted our rights as in the labour relations act which are:

l) Everyone has the right to fair labour practices.

(2) Every worker has the right to:

(a) form and join a trade union; (b) participate in the activities and programmes of a trade union; and (c) strike.

The employers themselves have also their rights in the labour relation but they do not have the right to violate our rights or to assist us exercising our rights by forming unions which they will control or to assist any workers` component to form a union. Workers must independently exercise this right without interference from the employers or any other structure.

Mining houses in this province continue to work with other unions to give them an unfair advantage over NUM and thus in our view the companies are acting outside their rights as in the labour laws.

We want to put it again on record today that there is union bashing in all the mining houses in the Rustenburg area as they want to unilaterally derecognise NUM without following proper procedures, and they continue to recognised a union that has fewer members than NUM and which has constantly refused to participate in a verification process conducted by an independent entity and refused to observe the signed peace accord by all parties.

It is our strongest believe that should workers be allowed to express their independent minds on which union they support following an independent verification process, the union which is recognised by the mining houses would fail to factually demonstrate the threshold which both the union and the company claim this new union has.

COSATU has observed the tendency of the employers to create labour unrest in order for them to have reasons to retrench workers freely in the form of dismissals and this cannot be allowed to continue unchallenged.

Unemployment in this country remains stubbornly high, with the worst affected being the youth, but at the same time the mine bosses continue to put retrenchment on their daily agenda. For us there is no way that we can overcome poverty if unemployment continues to grow at the rate which it is growing now.

COSATU would like to call on all the workers to stop attacking each other and focus on the common enemy which is capital, which continues to exploit workers on a daily basis and celebrate every time a worker is killed by another worker.

Therefore COSATU demands the following:

1. The planned retrenchment by Anglo must stop immediately, irrespective of the number of workers who are going to be affected.

2. The end of union-bashing by all the mining companies in this province and the immediate reopening of the NUM offices; and where there is an intention to close NUM offices that intention must be abandoned.

3. We call on Impala to open NUM offices immediately and that all elected union leaders go back to work to do their work of servicing their members.

4. The appointment of a jointly agreed independent body to conduct membership verification exercise for both Impala and Anglo Platinum and that Impala in particular must expose all forms that confirm workers belong to which unions.

5. Impala reemploy the remaining of the 2500 workers dismissed in 2012.

6. End of lawlessness in the mining areas and that all unions must respect the peace accord that was signed between them and government.

7. DoL to investigate the status of all the unions and deregister all those which do not meet the requirements.

8. The protection and the end of intimidation of all the workers.

9. The investigation of the killing of all the workers in the mining industry and the prosecution of all those who are implicated.

10. Labour brokers must be banned and all the employers must employ all the employees under the labour brokers in their staff complement. 11. A living wage which will assist to take workers out of poverty including building proper houses for their employees.

We demand a full detailed response within seven days:



For North West Government


For Impala


For Lonmin


For Anglo platinum