WSF (1999): “Fight Privatisation”

WSF (1999): “Fight Privatisation”

From Workers Solidarity, magazine of the Workers Solidarity Federation, volume 5, number 1, second quarter 1999. Complete PDF is here

Privatisation is the policy of the ANC government and is organised by ministers such as Stella Sigcua, who has promised that the process will speed up. In the middle of August, Minister of Public enterprises, Stella Sigcau, said that privatisation must go faster in South Africa. She says that the big government-owned companies must be sold to big business companies.

The government companies that are going to be sold include

* ISCOR (iron and steel)
* ESKOM (electricity)
* Post Office
* Railways
* Sun Air
* Water services
* Government services like ambulances.
* Egoli 2000– government services in Johannesburg are set to be privatised by ANC.

Workers must fight privatisation because it means

* retrenchments and flexibility in privatised jobs

* It is not empowerment because it only helps the rich.

* cuts in social services (water, refuse collection, sewerage, electricity, trains etc.) to poor areas

Public sector unions are the key to fighting ANC’s privatisation plans. This requires trade union independence.

SAMWU: Fighting Privatisation In South Africa

In South Africa, the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) has been at the forefront of efforts to fight privatisation. SAMWU has managed to block the privatisation of refuse removal in Khayalitsha, Cape Town. It has also fought against privatisation in Nelspruit and on the KwaZulu-Natal Coast.

But every step of the way the union is being undermined by the ANC Continue reading

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WSF (1999): “South African Labour Market Too Flexible, Says Report”

WSF (1999): “South African Labour Market Too Flexible, Says Report”

From Workers Solidarity, magazine of the Workers Solidarity Federation, volume 5, number 1, second quarter 1999. Complete PDF is here

The bosses and government always SA labour is highly protected. However, a recent report by the International Labour Organisation, which is part of the UN, says that despite advances in worker rights since parliamentary democracy came in 1994, our laws on firing workers and contract work and working conditions are more flexible than the international average, showing up the bosses’ lie that the SA labour market is too inflexible.

WSF (1999): “Strikewave! South African Labour Flexes its Muscles”

WSF (1999): “Strikewave! South African Labour Flexes its Muscles”

From Workers Solidarity, magazine of the Workers Solidarity Federation, volume 5, number 1, second quarter 1999. Complete PDF is here

1998 was a record-breaking year for strike activity in South Africa, and this year looks set to be even more active on the militant labour front.More than 3-million persondays – the highest figure since the 1994 elections – were lost to capitalist exploitation last year as a wave of industrial unrest swept the country. The year was characterised by long, intense and often violent strikes, despite calls by COSATU to settle the issues at stake as soon as possible so as not to scare off foreign investment. But as can be seen with the looming shutdown Continue reading

WSF (1999): “Libertarian socialist (anarchist) history: The Industrial Workers of the World”

WSF (1999): “Libertarian Socialist (Anarchist) History: The Industrial Workers of the World”

From Workers Solidarity, magazine of the Workers Solidarity Federation, volume 5, number 1, second quarter 1999. Complete PDF is here

The idea of one big union to serve all workers, no matter what industry they slaved in, was associated with the Industrial Workers of the World, a fighting union formed by workers in the United States in 1905. With it’s slogan of “One Big Union!”, the IWW was designed to be a working-class vehicle for social justice, armed with the power of their labour and of solidarity with their brothers and sisters. Like the WSF, the IWW has does not believe that the only job of the workers’ organisations is to argue once a year for better pay packages. It wants industry to be put directly in the hands of the workers, those who have all the skills, knowledge and expertise to run the world’s economy.

WSF (1999): “One Big Union! South Africa’s New Giants of Labour”

WSF (1999): “One Big Union! South Africa’s New Giants of Labour”

From Workers Solidarity, magazine of the Workers Solidarity Federation, volume 5, number 1, second quarter 1999. Complete PDF is here

FEBRUARY 24, 1999, was a red-letter day for the labour movement in the sub-continent, when two of the largest and most militant trade unions joined hands to form a new mega-union, the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers’ Union (CEPPWAWU). Mega-unions, that is, industrial unions based on a single sector, were one of the recommendations of COSATU’S September 1997 national congress. Formed from the ranks of two powerful COSATU affiliates, the Chemical Workers Industrial Union (CWIU) and the SA Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers’ Union (PPWAWU), the new giant pools the muscle and minds of 92,000 workers into a force to be reckoned with. The CWIU embarked on one of the most militant strikes over wages last year, with more than 47 000 workers (more than 20 000 of them CWIU members) downing tools at nearly 300 plants and blockading oil refineries in Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. Newly appointed CEPPWAWU general secretary, Muzi Buthelezi, the former CWIU general secretary said the new union would have greater resources and its sheer size would force employers to show it respect.

“STOP THE COUNTRY” MEGA-UNIONS: WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR SOCIALISM?

SA Communist Party (SACP) general secretary, Blade Nzimande, is CEPPWAWU’s new honorary president. Whether this move could be an indicator of the future formation of a communist-labour political party to the left of the ANC remains to be seen.

But workers must not put their faith in this. Remember that political parties, even left-wing ones, continue to exploit the working class because they don’t abolish the exploitation of the working majority by a small elite, Continue reading

WSF (1999): “ANC’s 1999 Budget Makes the Bosses Smile”

WSF (1999): “ANC’s 1999 Budget Makes the Bosses Smile”

From Workers Solidarity, magazine of the Workers Solidarity Federation, volume 5, number 1, second quarter 1999. Complete PDF is here

A number of progressive organisations have claimed that the 1999 budget was a “people’s budget”. For example, the South African Communist Party issued a statement saying that the budget “is one more decisive step in the ongoing transformation programme of the ANC-led alliance”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Delivered in Cape Town on the 17 February, the ANC’s budget made the bosses jump for joy. First of all, it cuts tax on the companies by 5%. This means that the bosses will get R2.5 billion more in profits.

GEARs GRINDING

This is directly in line with the GEAR programme of the government. GEAR is committed to promoting the profits and the interests of the bosses. GEAR is based on the ridiculous idea that more profits for the bosses will mean more jobs and wages for everyone else. Continue reading

WSF (1999):“Voting is your right but have NO ILLUSIONS IN PARLIAMENT”

WSF (1999): “Voting is your right but have NO ILLUSIONS IN PARLIAMENT”

From Workers Solidarity, magazine of the Workers Solidarity Federation, volume 5, number 1, second quarter 1999. Complete PDF is here

RIGHT TO VOTE

The WSF supports the right to vote. Working class people fought and died for this right. Any working class person should be free to vote for whoever they want. It is better to live under a democratic government than under the apartheid government. But we must have no illusions in the parliamentary system. As we have seen after nearly 5 years under this sort of government, parliament cannot be trusted. Even the best comrades sent to government have changed drastically.

SWEET LIFE

This is for a simple reason. Continue reading