The emergence of splinter unions formed by former members of Cosatu was "extremely worrying," Cosatu secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi said on Saturday.
"The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) is currently facing a massive challenge from splinter unions, formed by disgruntled elements within our ranks," Vavi said in a speech prepared for delivery.
He was speaking at a conference for doctors of the South African Medical Association (SAMA) who work in the public service.
The emergence of National Transport Allied Workers Union (Natawu), a breakaway from the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) led by former Satawu president and Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), which was formed by former National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) members and shop stewards was extremely worrying, he said.
"This represents the biggest onslaught waged by the bourgeoisie against the living standards of the working class," said Vavi.
Former Satawu president Ephraim Mphahlele resigned from the union two weeks ago to join splinter union National Transport Allied Workers Union (Natawu).
Amcu was formed by former member of the National Union of Mineworkers NUM, Joseph Mathunjwa.
Vavi said Cosatu's "biggest test" would be how to unite against "this orchestrated attack from the employers, right wing organisations and their think tanks."
"In sectors as vulnerable as mining, transport and cleaning, the real beneficiaries of these divisions are the capitalists who own and control our economy today."
He said Cosatu subscribed to a “one industry, one union” principle and believed that workers' unity was sacrosanct.
"This is why we believe that splinters are inherently harmful… because they divide the loyalties of the workers and undermine their unity," Vavi said. – Sapa.