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19 Mar 2009 12:35
Former president of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), Willie Madisha, who was drummed out of the movement under a cloud related to disappearing donations, announced on Thursday that a new trade union movement is to be launched on March 28 in Gauteng.
“The need for an independent labour movement has become a necessity because a politically aligned union or federation fails to address the needs of workers across industries, both in private and public sectors,” he said.
“We have recently experienced how workers, particularly those whose unions are affiliated to Cosatu, have been forced to support the ANC [African National Congress] and the SACP [South African Communist Party], even though they may not share the party’s ideological vision or orientation.”
Madisha has publicly aligned himself with the leadership of the Congress of the People (Cope).
“The era of abuse, where union members’ resources—including financial, human and material—are being used to fund the ANC’s political campaign and the SACP’s programmes, must come to an end,” he said.
“This form of exploitation has generated massive dissatisfaction amongst the workers which has led to the formation of this movement.
“Under the guise of forwarding the cause of the so-called tripartite alliance, these practices are an abuse of workers’ rights by the same federation that was created to protect their interests. Workers who have registered their objection to this behaviour have either been persecuted and hounded out of the unions or have been labelled counter-revolutionaries and sell-outs.
“We view our announcement today as the restoration of the founding values of the progressive labour movement.”
Madisha called on all workers to join “this new centre of labour”.
“We are looking forward to this day which will signal the end of a Stalinist tendency that has stifled debate amongst workers and their democratic right to vote for a political party of their choice,” he said.—I-Net Bridge
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