Today's Labour News

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numFinancial Mail writes that one of SA’s oldest trade unions, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), is in its death throes.  

The organisation has lost its relevance among mineworkers, construction and energy sector employees, and with membership having dwindled from more than 300,000 in 2011 to 187,000 last year, the NUM must adapt or die.  Its influence in political circles has also waned and it is now only a shadow of the union that was a leading voice in the ANC-led alliance and that played a key role in the formation of labour federation Cosatu in 1985.  It is said that, without the numbers it boasted in the past as the country’s biggest union, the NUM has become a spectator within Cosatu.  

The union’s 16th national congress last week was marked by chaos, insults, jeering and angry confrontations that almost ended in violence.  After a bitter fight about credentials, scheduled discussions of key issues like the future of SA mining and the implications for labour, the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme, the mining charter and SACP policy on fighting elections were all shelved.  

Fights by factions within the NUM driven by the pursuit of power and money and the emergence of rival Amcu are said to be the main causes of the NUM’s collapse in membership and influence.  Yet, even though it has been haemorrhaging membership for more than six years, the NUM still does not have a recovery strategy or a unit aimed at recruitment.

Read this insightful article by Theto Mahlakoana in full at BusinessLive

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