Friday 14 December 2007
LABOUR COMMITTEE WORKSHOP VENUE: AUCKLAND HOUSE BRAAMFOTAIN DATE: 7&8 OCTOBER 2006 TIME: 9H00-15H00PM
REPORT: 1.Purpose: The purpose of this report is to inform the OB and general APF membership about recommendations of the participants on the Programme of Action for Labour committee to enable them to co-ordinate activities and refer those which need decision making relevant decision making structures.
2. Opening: Communication breakdown on keys delayed the meeting on the first day but as soon as keys were located the w/shop started with Phineas Malapela as a facilitator.
3. Expectations: 3.1.Labour committee Programme of Action (AOP) taking into account existing APF interventions and new innovations to Labour struggles. 3.2. Plan to attract both organised and unorganised Labour as well as unemployed into APF activities. 3.3. Plan to address the issues of scab labour, Casuals and Contract labour which undermine strikes or industrial action organised labour. 3.4. Plan to address issues of leanerships as a way to supplement skills shortage and combat unemployment.
4. Workshop Objectives: 4.1.To develop POA for Labour Committee. 4.2. To acquaint members of Labour Committee with some labour issues. 4.3. To discuss Tactics Questions involved in interventions, support and building of workers struggles.
5. Introduction: An introduction was made to the effect that all Labour rights in South Africa are determined by 1994 Constitution which followed the principles adopted at Codesa, Kempton-Park. The Constitution embraced only “Right to Fair Labour Practice” and not to “Right to Employment or Work” enshrined in the African Charter of Rights and universal Declaration of Human Rights. All South African Labour Laws taking the Constitutional lead emphasize Rights to Fair Labour Practise. 5.1. LRA: Regulation Right to fair termination of employment. 5.2. BCEA: Regulating fair working conditions such as minimum working hours. 5.3. Workplace SHFETS and COID: Regulating fair compensation for loss of income as a result of workplace injury and diseases. 5.4 EEAL: Affirmative Action: Regulating fair promotions and parity at workplace to remove historical imbalances created by 1911 Colour Bar Act. This therefore do not give unemployed people any guarantee to employment and also do not protect those who are currently employed. This was necessitated by need to protect Capitalism from attack by Labour and also Government avoided responsibility like “BIG” (Basic Income Grant)demands.
This was said to be necessary because under Capitalism we do have the following sources of unemployment’s. (a) Structural Unemployment: This is caused by the Capitalist Economic system itself as it is design to be refit few and impoverish the Majority. (b) Frictional Unemployment: This is necessitated by the recognition of Private ownership of means of production under Capitalist system which gives owner powers to dismiss and empty at will. (c) Cyclical Unemployment: This is inherent in the Capitalist system as in order to keep profit margin the employer resort to cut Labour costs during Economic Slump through retrenchments. (d) Seasonal Unemployment: This is inherent to Farming Industry under Capitalism, as processing industry is divorced from production of raw materials.
NB: This then call your activists to review Constitution and all Labour Laws to fight for the “Right To Employment”.
6. Skills and Skill Development: A presentation on Skills Development as a prerequisite for employment was given and people were divide into groups after the presentation to discuss the following Questions. (a) All groups agreed that is Capitalist system not Skill scarcity which lead to Unemployment because. i. Industry fails to absorb Skilled people. ii. Industry shed employees with experience. iii. Industries introduced machinery to replace Skill. iv. Casualisation and use of Contract Labour shows that skill is not necessary but reduction of Labour cobs is more important as this will create cheap Labour costs down.
(b) The importance of Skill However was emphasized by all groups as Skill will be necessary even in a Socialist dispensation.
6.2. Types of Skills? The groups emphasized need for skills necessary to create sustainable development of human resources which will create the Economy controlled by people for their Social development , not Skills to do duties unnecessary for human development like war. The Skills must be appropriate for needs of Economy addressing working class needs ( basic needs).
6.3. Do you think relevant skills people are unemployable. All groups agreed people with relevant skills are roaming the streets and not employed, because of Corruptions and Nepotism which dominate employment criteria in South Africa.
6.4. Government strategies to create skills combat unemployment? All groups mentioned learnerships and EPWP.
6.5. APF responses to Government strategies. All groups agreed APF must formulate an approach to learnerships and EPWP but they differ on whether to support the strategies as they are or participate with a view to transform them toward working class aspirations.
7. Learnerships: The learnerships were explained as a strategy by Government to have combined practice and theory. The participants at plenary agreed that: 7.1. Learnerships are necessary to equip comrades but not necessary to make them employable. 7.2. APF must participate in all learnerships available for the purpose of assisting comrades to get accreditation for their training. 7.3. APF must register as service provider with department of Labour. 7.4. APF can as will develop its own Learnerships far its activist and submit it for accreditation.
8. Solidarity with striking workers. The presentation from SACCAWU employee and shop steward was made and participants in groups discussed the following Questions: 8.1. Affiliates Activities in support of SACCAWU & SATAWU: (a) Pamphleteering: (b) Meeting Attendance: (c) Picketing: (d) Task Committee: (e) Strike Committee: (f ) Marches: (g)Consumer Boycotts:
8.2. Strengthening APF Interventions: (a) Increase Picketing: (b) Add Issues to Pamphlet: (c) Increase Support Groups: (d) Attend Workers Meeting: (e) Supplement workers activities with their agreement to safe them possible Prosecution or Disciplinary Committee. (f) Build Capacity of workers & Train them on Labour Laws. (g) Workers issues to basic services issues. (h) Intensify Consumer Boycott. (i) Invite workers to APF activities or mass action. (j) Publish workers stories in APF news letter and challenge mainstream media for failing to carry strike issues. (k) Challenge federations and other sector unions to support to pledge solidarity with other striking workers. (l) Create pro-active interaction with Unions to be able to assist where necessary and be up date before actual industrial actions.
8.3. APF - Strikers Relations: All groups agreed that unity in action is better than talking to leadership is bureaucrats. This had bearded fruits as proved by SACCAWU Security strike and present Shoprite strike. SACCAWU had praised the APF in Cosatu Congress is as softening its affiliates. All agreed involvement must continued and talking to workers will open them to APF facilities and strengthen workers to claim democracy within their Unions. The interaction must be more on workers struggle not character assassination of same leaders workers regard as their leaders like Jakob Zuma or Mbeki. 8.4. Reason for APF support of workers struggle. Trade Union are not traditional but as well the most important working class organisations without which socialist tradition cannot be realised. APF is not only a Social Movement but also a Socialist Movement. Labour had made historical gains and most important of them is the right to strike and APF need to defend this weapon of the working class. 8.5. How to link workers and community struggle. The loss of job through retrenchments, lack of job payment of slave wages impact badly on ability to pay for basic services such as housing, rates, and taxes, electricity, water and food. The workers, right are human rights the fight must be linked. 8.6. Dealing with Scab Labour ? Participants did not agree in common strategy but all agreed on principle of non violence towards a Scab labour unless in defence of the struggle when attacked as the main enemy is the capitalist not a follow class traveller who is Scabbing because h/she does not have alternative. The alternative to bashing Scab Labour was suggested as Educational Approach.
9. Way forward:
9.1. Continual intervention in support of workers. 9.2. Making pamphlet accessible. 9.3. Devise proper Media struggle which will carry out stories of workers. 9.4. APF filling voiced created by federations. 9.5. APF forming workers task teams in the communities. 9.6. APF provide services to workers where necessary e.g. assist them to file cases to CCMA. 9.7. APF build Capacity of workers to handle Labour disputes.
ANTI- Privatisation forum:
Labour committee Programme of Action. Number Objective Activities Strategy Period
1. Solidarity Industrial Picket Support actions Stay ways Attending meeting Mass Actions Supporting statement Boycotts Pamphlets
2. Capacity building Training on Labour Workshops Learnerships Awareness Action Seminars Leadership Training Debates Negotiation skills or Symposia Conduct management skills Advocacy
3. Services Dispute Referrals Advice Centres Recruitment for APF CCMA Training Unions Paralegal Training
4. Funding Assist Union as Learnership (own) service provider by SETA’s acquiring S.D.F Tendering Develop learnerships Proposal APF sources
5. Advocacy Media Community Radio APF newsletter Khanya Journal Labour Bulleting Mainstream Media Murals Graffiti
6. Links Federations Joint Programme Union offices Solidarity Workers Support