congress of the new Labour federation South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU)
in Johannesburg on Friday morning.
Those gathered have started singing “we have
arrived” while carrying placards written “create decent jobs”
and “restructure the economy and create jobs for all”.
Union members from various unions sing and dance at the SAFTU Congress in Joburg.
The federation is the brainchild of former Cosatu boss
Zwelinizima Vavi and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) along
with other disgruntled former Cosatu members.
Vavi and Numsa were expelled from Cosatu in 2015.
SAFTU will consist of 24 unions including the Food and
Allied Workers Union (Fawu), which left Cosatu last year.
The federation has been long in the making following last
year’s Workers’ Summit.
Irvin Jim, Numsa general secretary, says the launch of
the federation was a journey that it was forced to take, but was the
beginning of hard work.
“This will be the beginning of hard work. We will be
building a federation now that will be both a shield and forest for
workers,” said Jim.
Some of the prominent people present include Jay Naidoo
who’s expected to speak and Mbhazima Shilowa.
Over the next following days union delegates will discuss
various policies and the organization’s constitution, the final name for the
federation and elect its leadership.