NUMSA President Opening Speech: “Numsa National Bargaining Conference’

10 March 2014, Posted in Press ReleasesSpeeches

“The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living. And just when they seem engaged in revolutionising themselves and things, in creating something that has never yet existed, precisely in such periods of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirit of the past to their service and borrow from them names, battle cries and costumes in order to present the new scene of world history in this time-honoured disguise and this borrowed language…” (Karl Marx, 1984, Eighteenth Brumaire).”

 NUMSA President Opening Speech: “Numsa National Bargaining Conference’

Central Committee members

The officials of Numsa present here

Our invited guest

Most importantly the delegates of the Bargaining conference, Numsa shop stewards

On behalf of the National office bearers of our red Union I greet you all and welcome to the Numsa National bargaining conference 2014. Once again the time for ear to the ground in preparation for the 2014 class war against the bosses in our Engineering sector and house agreements like Eskom has arrived. Collective bargaining remains central to our revolutionary work to reclaim the surplus value that is stolen daily by the bosses at the point of production, as part of our program to take war to capital.

The National bargaining conference take place in the context of the:

  • State of the Nation address
  • The Budget speech
  • The coming election
  • Cosatu in the intensive care unit
  • The working class under seige

Political developments

The bargaining conference takes place at the time when our country is still facing difficult challenges, the devils of unemployment, poverty and inequality, the truth of the matter is that no matter how many times we keep on talking about the triple crises, it will not go away unless if our country takes a new political and economic path to address this challenges. The old solutions no matter how many times they get recycled they are not capable to deliver the required results which is a new economic path, in these regards i do wish to borrow from Karl Marx on the Eighteenth Brumaire;

“The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living. And just when they seem engaged in revolutionising themselves and things, in creating something that has never yet existed, precisely in such periods of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirit of the past to their service and borrow from them names, battle cries and costumes in order to present the new scene of world history in this time-honoured disguise and this borrowed language…” (Karl Marx, 1984, Eighteenth Brumaire).

The results of the failure to implement the freedom charter is the stubborn triple crises we facing today, all what is left is to lie to our people that we have a vision  2030( a good story to tell) and south Africa will be a better place (wokers and the poor in these country have a bad experience and story to tell). We have a bad history of shifting goal post in defence of the right wing agenda that our movement have accepted. Today we want to tell our people that they must forget about vision 2014 that we all supported and even refuse to make an honest assessment of ourselves.

The truth of the matter is that we only replaced white man with a black man, the system is still the same, and the South African capitalism continues to flourish with cooption of few black capitalist, whilst majority of our people continue to be excluded from the economy. The Anc government continues to be the supervisor of white monopoly capital, and that’s why they will fail.

The Sona provides nothing as part of taking forward the second phase of radical transition and the budget speech was even more decisive giving the bosses free grants with a an illusion that they will create jobs.

The developments in Cosatu

The enemies of our people and our revolution have intensified their campaign to isolate and defeat us; the forces of capitalism are now plotting to dismiss us from cosatu, under the pretext that our congress resolutions are not consistent with that of cosatu, as if we are not an independent trade union with all rights to take decisions.

Numsa has been given 7 days to respond why we should not be suspended or dismissed and we complied last week Friday. The letter from cosatu was very clear that the CEC has resolved to dismiss us to complete their master plan.

  • To paralyse cosatu
  • Get rid of Vavi
  • Dismiss Numsa

Finally you have cosatu of your dreams and aspirations but not cosatu of the workers, a conveyor belt of the Anc alliance, while the Anc is clear about serving their masters which is capital, while Cosatu of Sdumo grouping is paralysed the Anc government is forging ahead with anti worker policies.

This grouping does not care about workers issues anymore, the CeC of casatu is now a circus, and for the whole year now cosatu is still stacked on the same old matter.

They are now resorting to tribalist divide due to their desperation to divide workers for their selfish ends.

The Sacp was quick to go all out in defence of misuse and theft of tax payer’s money used at Nkandla project but is quite like an Egyptian mommy on zwelinzima vavi and cosatu.

Ours at this moment is to mobilise the base of the working class to stand up and reclaim their federation from this power hungry grouping that has no regards for Cosatu constitution.

The court date for our long awaited trial on the unconstitutional suspension of Vavi is on the 27and 28 march, we call on all workers and activists who care’s about the unity of the federation to join us on the picketing line in South Gauteng high court.

The battle lines are clearly drawn now.

Socio Economic context in which the takes place

Indeed comrades we still bedevilled by the stubborn crises of capitalism, and we shall not pay for the crises.

More than anything else, what makes the current systemic and structural global crisis of capitalism more dangerous and frightening than in the past is the total intellectual, ideological, political and moral bankruptcy of the world capitalist leaders and their capitalist theorists: they have no answer to what increasingly appears to be the world’s relentless progression towards mass poverty, worldwide unemployment, growing extreme global inequalities within and between nations of the world, vicious and extremely violent civil and international wars, global warming, environmental destruction – all pointing to the eventual destruction of our Earth and all life on it.

Today 26 million South Africans who live in abject poverty, 25 million are Africans

  • Unemployment grew from 36% in 2007 to 37% in 2012; among Africans it grew from 40% in 2008 to 46% in 2012
  • For every 1 unemployed white workers, there are 80 unemployed African workers.
  • Between 2008 and 2012 the number of “discouraged work-seekers” nearly doubled (from 1.2 million to 2.3 million)
  • 71% of those employed are not unionised,
  • 54% of  workers do not receive regular wage increases,
  • 24% of workers work for more than 48hrs a week, average working time is 44 hours a week
  • According the General Household Surveys, 77% of the unemployed rely on employed workers for survival.

This is just part of the state of the working class in this country; it is a bad story to tell.

Collective Bargaining

Numsa has begun our Ear to the Ground Campaign in workplace to develop our demands for 2014

In collecting these demands our key and strategic objective is to improve the benefits and conditions of employment. The demands from our 9 Numsa Regions shall be consolidated and tabled for discussion in this Numsa National Bargaining Conference.

We must be upfront that we are preparing for the mother of all battles as we shall champion the struggle for a living wage for workers in the Engineering Industry and Eskom in particular and other house agreements.

The union will use this round of negotiations not only for wages but also take up a very important campaign of defending existing jobs and to fight for more jobs. In extending our work beyond the factories,

We shall on the 19th of March 2014 embark on a national strike to demand the scrapping of the employment tax incentive act or the so called youth wage subsidy. We shall do so in defense of existing jobs as we have reason to believe that the current spate of retrenchments notices across various sectors are directly linked to this senseless incentive scheme.

We refuse that the working class of SA must be forced to pay for the global crisis of capitalism.

With respect to Eskom, Numsa shall not rest until workers at Eskom receive a fair increase. We view the arbitration award that imposed 5,6 % as an insult that constitute a wage freeze.

We do need equity of pay. Currently white workers sit at the top of their pay grades while many black workers still languish at the bottom of their grades.

We can no longer tolerate Eskom and Government hiding behind Nersa to justify paying lip service to a negotiation process while the power (the only power) of workers to withhold their labour is removed.

We calling on all workers at Eskom to unite behind their legitimate right to demand a living wage if in these round of negotiations Eskom management doesn’t move swiftly to make a real offer that will settle workers’ demands and hide behind essential service but pay workers peanuts, they would have to take full responsibility of the consicoensies.

Workers continue to receive low wages as there is no National Minimum Wage that can guarantee them a living wage.

Workers are taking loans from loan sharks in-order to make a living.

There is poor or virtually no assistance from the employers.

Unemployment which makes those who are working to support those not working imposes a heavy burden on our members as a result of the triple crises poverty and inequalities.

It is not in the nature of capital to give, the working must be prepared to wage a class war to advance their interests.

In conclusion 

We must use this moment to mobilize for unity of the working class and even recruit those workers who are still non Union members to Numsa.

  1. 1.      History has imposed on Numsa a huge responsibility as can be seen from the outcome of our ground breaking Special National Congress
  2. 2.      Forces of evil are plotting and planning to destabilize Numsa from within and from without
  3. 3.      All Numsa Regions are expected to rally the broadest possible support for our S77 national strike action on 19 March 2014
  4. 4.      The Numsa Moment calls for absolute maximum unity

Forward we go and backward never.


NUMSA Sedibeng statement on SACP Gauteng futile exercise!!!!

We are therefore calling on the SACP to swallow its pride and accept that we are no more within their alliance , and do not regard them as vanguard of the working class and the poor anymore ,and we are forging ahead to establish a United Front that will be the vanguard of the working class and the poor South Africans.

7 March 2014, Posted in Press Releases

The current action and so called mobilization exercise of the Gauteng Province of the SACP is another attempt to discredit Numsa and a distortion of facts.

The SACP is moving around companies organized by Numsa in what they term as mobilization to encourage Numsa members to vote for the ANC in the coming national and provincial elections.

Numsa Sedibeng region view this as nothing but another attempt to create confusion amongst its members and discredit us. These dirty tricks will not succeed; our members have taken the decision and are firm and running with speed to see implementation.

We are aware that the SACP will be in Sedibeng from Monday 10th March 2014 where meetings have been arranged with our members in Arcelor Mittal Vereeniging Works. We are further aware that towards our Special National Congress, the same SACP tried in vain to use the same members who are employed by a labour broker called Workforce and PPO to rebel against Numsa through a fabrication on unsubstantiated lies. Those attempts drastically failed as we marched through our Special National Congress and took resolutions that are to emancipate the working class and the poor from neo-liberal economic exploitation they are currently faced with.

We want to set the record straight especially for the attention of the SACP in the District of Sedibeng and Gauteng Province. The Numsa Special National Congress resolution is very clear and says “Numsa as an organization is not going to endorse any political party going to elections in 2014, we are not going to release any funding and any of our resources to mobilize support for any political party, but however, our members have the right to vote for any party of their choice in the coming elections”. Finish and klaar!!!

We are therefore calling on the SACP to swallow its pride and accept that we are no more within their alliance , and do not regard them as vanguard of the working class and the poor anymore ,and we are forging ahead to establish a United Front that will be the vanguard of the working class and the poor South Africans.

Mokete Makoko
Sedibeng Regional Secretary, 083 297 8784    


Numsa on the United Front and the possibilities of establishing a movement for Socialism

4 March 2014, Posted in Press Releases

Numsa convened a press briefing on Sunday 2nd March 2014, for purposes of presenting our 2014 statement on a range of issues and to report the outcome of the historic Numsa Special National Congress held on 17-20 December 2013. 

The media on Monday 3rd March 2014 ran with headlines screaming that Numsa is establishing a new political party. Given the many media enquiries we received we opted not to do a multitude of interviews, but to offer this brief statement which is in line with our 15 page statement of 2 March 2014, wherein we reiterate the following;

  1. The Numsa Special National Congress concluded that the ANC led-Alliance has become dysfunctional and incapable of defending working class interest in the midst of the implementation of anti-working class policies such as;
  • The National Development Plan (NDP) which seeks to postpone the resolution of poverty, unemployment and inequality to 2030;
  • Implementation of the e-tolling which is nothing short of the privatization public roads;
  • Failure to ban Labour Brokers;
  • Introducing a National Youth Wage Subsidy which is a tax incentive/subsidy to the rich but a promises of an investigation into the modalities of a National Minimum Wage;
  • Etc

2. The Alliance springs into action every 5 years when it is time for elections, but would otherwise not address pertinent issues agreed upon in Alliance Summits since 1994.

3. For all intends and purposes, the Freedom Charter, which is the minimum program which glued together the Alliance, has been abandoned in favour of GEAR and the NDP.

4. In the current circumstances we see leaderless services delivery protest of about 37 per day furthermore illustrating that the vulnerable and the poor in our society are left to their own devises.

5. The United Front Numsa resolved upon in its Special National Congress is a mobilising tool to organise and coordinate working class struggles. It is no different to what Cosatu had attempted in its Civil Society Conference. It is not “A Party”.

6. Numsa is on record as saying that we shall explore and internationally research the possibility of a Movement for Socialism and report back to our Numsa Central Committee in March 2015 on the international experience in the struggle for Socialism. This remains our position as taken in the Special National Congress.

7. In a question posed in the media briefing on Sunday 2nd March 2014, Numsa NOB’s did indicate that exploring a Movement For Socialism and the report-back on our international research report to the Numsa Central Committee of March 2015, shall invariably lead to the establishment of a working class party the form, shape and content shall be determined in consultation with left and progressive formations in our country. Whether such a working class party contest elections in 2016 or 2019, the Numsa March 2015 Central Committee shall resolve.


8. Numsa provincial and national consultative conferences shall be convened to enable Numsa National Office Bearers to share with left and progressive formations in our country the meaning of the Numsa Special National Congress resolutions. This Numsa position is no different from the one taken by Cosatu’s 1993 conference in Shaft 17 which was never acted on by Cosatu but also never rescinded.

9. The idea that Numsa is forming a political party to contest 2014 elections is false and baseless.

10. Whereas Numsa shall not endorse nor resource the ANC’s elections campaign, the SNC resolved that;

  • Numsa shall not endorse any political party in the 2014 national and provincial government elections;
  • Numsa members and officials have a right to vote for a political party of their choice.

We hope that this brief statement clarifies the Numsa Special National Congress position and resolutions

Issued by:
Karl Cloete
Numsa Deputy General Secretary
On behalf of the Numsa National Office Bearers

Contact: Karl Cloete, Deputy General Secretary, 083 389 0777 

NUMSA 2nd Deputy President Comrades Basil Cele on jobs for Youth demonstration

Read this here:

Numsa to strike for Youth Jobs

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa’s (Numsa) representing 341 150 members will come out on a protected socio-economic strike on Wednesday 19 March 2014 to demand jobs for South Africa’s youth.

This is the first of a series of rolling socio-economic strikes that the union decided on at its Special National Congress in December 2013.

Since November 2013, Numsa has been involved in negotiations with government at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) where the union objected to the Employment Tax Incentive Bill that government had tabled in parliament.

see more here:
and here: 

Numsa General Secretary’s presentation to The Cape Town Press Club

Find the link to this on our Global Pages > South Africa.

The Workers Charter

Workers’ Charter 
adopted by National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA)  1987

We, the working people of South Africa, the main producers of our country’s wealth, declare:

That, as workers, we are daily robbed of a rightful share of the fruits of our labour.

That, as black workers, we are subjected to even more intense exploitation by a system of capitalism which uses national domination to keep wages low and profits high.

That, as part of the black oppressed whose forebears were conquered by force of arms, we continue to suffer all the social, political, economic and cultural deprivations of a colonised people.

That, the most urgent task facing us as workers, as black workers and as part of the black oppressed, is to use our organised strength both at the point of production and among our communities, to put an end to the race tyranny and to help bring about a united, non-racial, non-sexist democratic South Africa based on one person one vote, as broadly defined in the Freedom Charter.

That, we see the winning of such a non-racial democracy as part of a continuous process of creating conditions for the building of a socialist society which will be in the interests of all our people; a society free of all exploitation of person by person which alone can complete the liberation objectives in all spheres of social life.

That, we are the most vital social constituent of the broad liberation movement in which we play a part both as individuals and through our trade unions and political organisations. We stand ready to work together with all other classes and groups genuinely committed to a non-racial democracy, at the same time safeguarding our class independence and our right to propagate and mobilise for a socialist future.

That, we extend a hand of friendship to our white class brothers and sisters whose long-term interests lie in the unity of all labour – black and white.

In order to ensure:

that victory in the national liberation struggle is not hijacked by a new exploiting class, of whatever colour;

that the immediate interests of the working people are fully safeguarded in the post-apartheid state and;

that we are not prevented from asserting our democratic right to win the majority of the people for a socialist future;

we, the working people, adopt this charter (as an elaboration of the Freedom Charter) and pledge ourselves to strive together, using our organised strength, to guarantee its implementation.

Ownership and control of the economy

The commanding heights of the economy shall be placed under the ownership and overall control of the state acting on behalf of the people. Such control shall not be exercised in an over-centralised or commandist way and must ensure active participation in the planning and running of the enterprises by workers at the point of production and through their trade unions.

Economic policy shall aim to generate the resources needed to correct the economic imbalances imposed by race domination and bring about wealth redistribution for the benefit of the people as a whole. More particularly, steps shall be taken to do away with the white monopoly of ownership and managerial control.

Participation in the state sector by domestic or foreign private capital, where judged necessary, shall not give such capital a controlling share and all enterprises, whether state-owned or private, shall be compelled to safeguard the interests of the workers and the nation as a whole. The continued operation of market forces in the functioning of the economy shall not prevent state intervention in areas relating to the people’s basic needs.

In the period after the defeat of the race tyranny, the fundamental perspective of working class political and trade union organisations shall be to work for the creation of economic and social conditions making possible a steady advance towards a democratic socialist society.

The right and duty to work and to a living wage

Every adult person has a right and duty to work and to receive remuneration according to his or her contribution. The new state shall, as a matter of priority, work to create economic conditions in which jobs are available to all. Until this is achieved the state shall ensure that social support is provided for the unemployed and members of their families.

All managerial and administrative posts and other jobs shall be open to every qualified citizen irrespective of race, colour, sex or religion. The equal right of access to jobs, managerial and administrative posts shall be subject to positive measures necessary to correct the imbalances inherited from the era of race discrimination. Public and private institutions shall have a duty to provide facilities for training and opportunities to apply the acquired skills.

The State, in consultation with the trade unions, shall adopt and enforce a national minimum wage.

Child labour and all forms of forced and semi-forced labour shall be prohibited. Special attention shall be paid to redressing the

oppressive situation of workers involved in farm-work, domestic service and those trapped in the so-called homelands.

The right to organisation and struggle

There shall be no restrictions on the rights of workers to organise themselves into political parties or trade unions. Trade union organisation shall be based on the principles of “one industry – one union” and “one country – one federation”.

Trade unions and their federation shall be completely independent and answerable only to the decisions of their members or affiliates, democratically arrived at. No political party, state organ or enterprise, whether public, private or mixed, shall directly or indirectly interfere with such independence.

The state shall ensure that the trade unions, as the key mass social organisation of the organised working class, are given the opportunity to participate at all levels of economic planning and implementation.

All workers, in every sector of the economy, shall have the right, through their trade unions, to engage freely in collective bargaining and to use the strike weapon.

All legislation dealing with procedures for collective bargaining, including any limitations on the right to strike in exceptional cases, shall require the consent of a majority in the trade union movement.

In the case of all other labour legislation there shall be prior consultation with the trade union movement whose views on such proposed legislation should be timeously tabled in parliament.

The right to media access

Steps shall be taken to break the existing media monopoly by big business and the State and to ensure effective workers’ access to all sections of the media.

The right to family life and social facilities
All legislation and labour practices which prevent or interfere with the right of families to live together shall be outlawed. Migrant labour shall be phased out or, in cases where it is unavoidable, provision shall be made for family accommodation during any period of service exceeding three months.

The state shall aim to make adequate accommodation and children’s schools available to all workers and their families, close to their places of work. All enterprises shall help to create local or regional recreational facilities for the work-force as well as creches and primary health care facilities.

No parent, male or female, shall be disadvantaged or disabled from any form of employment by virtue of his or her duty to help rear children and, where necessary, this should be ensured by the creation of special facilities including provision for paid maternity and paternity leave.

The right to health and safety

Conditions of work shall not threaten the health, safety and well-being of the work-force or of the community at large, or create serious ecological risks.

All workers shall have the right to paid annual leave and paid sick leave.

Those injured at work shall receive proper compensation for themselves and their families. Provision shall be made for the rehabilitation of all disabled workers including, where necessary, the provision of alternative employment.

The right to security in old age

All workers shall be entitled to an adequate pension or retirement, provided either by the state or the relevant enterprise.

The rights of women workers

The state shall aim to integrate all women workers as full and equal participants in the economy. Any form of discrimination against women workers in regard to job allocation, wages, working conditions, training, benefits, etc., shall be prohibited.

Positive steps shall be taken to help correct the discrimination suffered by women both in the work-place and the home.

Opportunities shall be created to enable women to acquire skills for employment outside the home.

It shall be the duty of the state, trade unions, workers, political parties and all other mass and social organisations to ensure effective

women’s participation at leadership, management and other levels and to take measures, including educational campaigns, to combat all forms of male chauvinism both in the home and outside.

We declare that the above immediate and long-term objectives are in the best interests of all the working people and of society as a whole. As individuals and as part of the organised working class, we pledge to struggle, side by side, for their full implementation.