The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) on Friday rejected reports linking it to a yet-to-be established federation of trade unions, saying such an association would be an “ill-conceived formation”.
The municipal trade union, instead, reaffirmed its affiliation, and pledged allegiance, to the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).
Samwu’s general secretary, Simon Mathe, in a statement said Samwu would never be part of an organisation which had been formed out of bitterness and anger.
A new trade union federation led by expelled Cosatu general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, would, according to recent reports, be launched in Tembisa, Johannesburg, on Workers Day, May 1. Vavi was kicked out of Cosatu in March 2015.
Samwu was named as one of unions set to join the new federation.
But Mathe rejected the claims saying: “Samwu has congress resolutions which have confirmed, affirmed and reaffirmed our affiliation to Cosatu. Ours is a historical relationship with Cosatu politically and ideologically”.
Mathe said the unions that merged to form Samwu were founding members of Cosatu, and as such “we have a responsibility to ensure the continued survival and growth of Cosatu”.
According to reports, the launch of the new federation would be preceded by a workers’ summit to be held in Boksburg on April 30th, where it was expected that delegates representing 40 unions would come up with the name, colours and constitution of the federation.
Mathe said Samwu distanced itself from this grouping and further urged those behind the new federation to “desist from using Samwu’s name for their own political gains”.
Mathe explained that only “a properly constituted Samwu national congress” had the power to make the decison to leave Cosatu or to join another federation.
He said Samwu and its members were unambiguous on their affiliation to Cosatu, and as such talk to the contrary “was mischievous and should be condemned”.
Mathe said: “We urge our members to fully participate in the upcoming May Day celebrations hosted by Cosatu. To show our support for May Day, Samwu National Office Bearers have been deployed by Cosatu as speakers in various venues for that day”.
Mathe also dismissed as unfounded suggestions that Samwu was in a crisis, saying that union remained intact with properly constituted leadership elected by the 11th National Congress.