The new trade union federation said on Friday it stood by its name, the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) and said it was ready for the challenge by the rival Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) over the name.
Saftu steering committee chairman Raymond Mnguni said Fedusa was part of the initial talks to seek a “worker-controlled” federation and a workers’ summit.
“The steering committee was elected from all unions that participated. Fedusa was part of the historical meeting in September 2016 where we agreed on a worker-controlled federation, but left almost immediately after establishment of committee, without making any written commitment and backed away,” Mnguni said.
“By the way, they’re taking us to court, so we say we will meet them in court over the name Saftu.”
Fedusa has objected to the Saftu name and requested that a different name be adopted. Fedusa reportedly said the Saftu name too closely resembled theirs. Mnguni added, however, that delegates could opt to change the name Saftu if they saw fit.
Other federations, such as the National Council of Trade Unions (Nactu), and trade union Solidarity, also took part in the talks, following suit after Fedusa and “retreated and stopped participating”, said Mnguni.
Mnguni relayed how the federation was mooted and the committee travelled across the country, mobilising unions and workers that sought a non-politically affiliated federation that would be controlled by workers.
He said the launch of the new federation was a historical moment, and hard work lay ahead for the workers.
“We must rise above petty squabbles that often characterise relationships between unions and federations. Our country, our continent, indeed the workers across the world are faced with huge problems … we need to be a beacon that attracts all workers, regardless of their affiliation back to the front line of the class struggle.”
Guests at the launch included former Cosatu leaders Jay Naidoo and Mbhazima Shilowa, and student activists Bonginkosi Khanyile and Mcebo Dlamini. They were all to address the gathering.
– African News Agency