Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) is to increase its cooperation with other trade union federations, to put worker unity above ideological differences to fight common battles.
The ANC-aligned federation agreed to cooperate with the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) after some of its affiliates began working with Saftu affiliates outside of the Cosatu mandate.
The first to do this was the National Union of Mineworkers, a Cosatu affiliate, which last year invited the Saftu-affiliated National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa into a joint fight against Eskom for wage increases and better working conditions.
Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi said the cooperation would be based on interests of the workers, which were more important than the egos of leaders in the federation.
She vowed that if the relationship was not based on worker interests, Cosatu would not be interested.
The federation has instructed all its affiliated structures to work to improve the level of cooperation with other union federations.
Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla clarified that the cooperation did not only involve Saftu, but also other federations such as the Federation of Unions of South Africa and the National Council of Trade Unions.
Pamla said the decision to unite the workers across political divides was a resolution taken at Cosatu’s congress.
“We are implementing our congress resolution to build bridges as part of our campaign to unite the workers and the working class.”
Losi said they may not see eye-to-eye with Saftu but worker unity was important, so they had decided to invite Cosatu affiliates to cooperate with Saftu affiliates and other federations on the ground.