Media statement from the Workers’ Summit Steering Committee
The Steering Committee for a Workers Summit met on 5 November 2015, to take forward the resolution taken on 21 September 2015 to convene a Workers’ Summit to bring together all those workers and organisations committed to building a strong, united and independent trade union movement and to mobilise around policies to end the challenge of the triple crisis of unemployment, poverty and inequality.
The meeting reaffirmed the decision to convene a broad-based summit of workers’ organisations, early in 2016, whose aim would be to reverse the increasing fragmentation of the trade union movement, create a home for the 76 per cent of workers, mainly amongst the most vulnerable sectors, who are not organised in any union and spearhead the fightback against the employers.
The meeting discussed draft policy documents, which will be discussed as widely as possible among the membership of all the unions, and unorganised workers, in order to establish a broad consensus. Additional documents will be drafted on all issues facing workers, including the national minimum wage, fighting corruption, a programme of action and how a new federation could be sustained.
There was a consensus that there is a need for any new workers’ movement to be worker-controlled and independent, particularly from employers and government, but that ‘independent’ did not mean apolitical. On ideological or political alignment it was accepted that workers will be coming from different backgrounds and traditions and that it was essential that only the workers themselves could decide, democratically, what position to take on these matters.
It was also agreed to do research on trade union movements around the world and learn lessons from their experiences.
Amongst those present was a clear understanding that the unfolding global crisis, and its manifestation in South Africa cannot be allowed to go unchallenged. Our people are suffering levels of impoverishment that are completely unacceptable, and which require decisive action. It is clear that a 'business as usual' approach is completely inappropriate and ineffective.
A vibrant, independent, worker controlled and determined trade union movement is required now more than ever and this is why so many unions, from a variety of traditions and backgrounds have committed themselves to a process towards achieving the maximum unity of the working class.
Issued by Patrick Craven, 6 November 2015