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Wed Jul 30 00:59:48 SAST 2014

Calling Thatcher a prostitute insults sex workers: Numsa

Sapa | 18 April, 2013 11:57
Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. File photo
Image by: ANDREW WINNING / Reuters

Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher was ridiculed on Thursday at the National Union of Metalworkers of SA's bargaining conference in Pretoria.

Numsa's second deputy president Christine Olivier told members to refrain from referring to Thatcher as "the prostitute".

"It is an insult to sex workers. Using the word prostitute as a term of abuse is deeply offensive to sex workers, whose interests Numsa took an interest in arguing for," she said.

"It implies that they are collectively at par with the reactionary Thatcher rather than members of the working class. So comrades [from] KZN [KwaZulu-Natal] may you use another word when you refer to Margaret Thatcher."

Applause and laughter greeted Olivier's remarks.

Shortly afterwards, Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi addressed the conference.

He said most workers were demanding decent work and banning labour brokers, a matter which should have been resolved long ago.

"Workers are telling us everywhere that they are tired of listening to themselves demanding a complete ban on labour brokers." he said.

"It is now four years since the ANC committed itself to the principle of decent work. Decent work and labour brokering is like oil and water --they don't mix."

The tripartite alliance agreed a year ago about proposals to amend labour laws and advance the agenda of decent work through legislation.

"We are extremely concerned that this agreement, no matter how imperfect it may be, has not been implemented," said Vavi.

Giving feedback on the Cosatu collective bargaining, organising, and campaigns conference held in March, Vavi said workers were disgruntled.

"The main message from our members is crystal clear -- workers have had enough of poverty wages, retrenchments, labour brokers, obscene levels of inequality, and arrogant bosses," he said.

"We will unite to resist the attacks on collective bargaining and the right to strike, and step up the fight to transform the apartheid wage structure and implement, among others, a statutory national minimum wage and a basic income grant."

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Wed Jul 30 00:59:48 SAST 2014 ::