Numsa to launch own party - the United Front
Numsa is forging ahead with the launch of its own political party but will remain a Cosatu affiliate, the union said.
"In December this year, 2014, we are launching the United Front," National Union of Metalworkers of SA general secretary Irvin Jim told reporters in Johannesburg.
"To better service our members, to defend and grow our union, we adopted a service charter for ourselves."
The decision to form the United Front was first announced in December 2013 during a special Numsa national congress. The union decided to no longer support the ruling ANC and its affiliate, the Congress of SA Trade Unions, in the 2014 general elections, saying they no longer represented workers' interests.
"We decided to break with the alliance and resolved to form a United Front and explore the possibility of socialism in South Africa. We took these historic decisions precisely because we realised that the South African working class needed a political organ of their own, committed to socialism both in its policies and actions," he said.
Jim said the move was not a sign that the union was leaving Cosatu and venturing out on its own. He said Numsa would defend the trade union federation at all costs.
He said the launch of the party had been a subject of discussion at Cosatu for many years.
"In the last six congresses of Cosatu, going back to 1997, Cosatu has clearly resolved to set up a United Front. Cosatu called it a broad popular movement for transformation around common struggles on issues facing the working class," he said.
"Numsa is today merely doing what Cosatu has desired to do all this time. In the sixth congress Cosatu said: 'Cosatu should initiate a broad popular movement for transformation around common struggles on issues facing the working class... it should be seen as a home for popular mass formations that currently lack a common agenda and programme'. That is clearly a call for the formation of a United Front," he said.
He gave several examples of Cosatu calling for the formation of such an organisation to represent Numsa's point of view.
According to Jim, Cosatu said during its 8th congress that it should initiate talks with a broad range of progressive social movements in an attempt to strengthen the working class and provide leadership.
"Only a moron of a very special type would not recognise the United Front in this position," he said.