Cape Town 31 July 2009 There has been much press confusion about our silence on a potential agreement that might have been reached on Thursd...

Cape Town 31 July 2009

There has been much press confusion about our silence on a potential agreement that might have been reached on Thursday 30 July 2009.

It is important to clarify that we cannot enter into any agreement without proper consultation with our members, and without receiving a mandate from our members to settle. Until we have that mandate, we cannot sign an agreement.

Throughout the wage negotiations and the strike we have consistently reported back to our members, and acted on their mandate as to the next steps. We have convened numerous meetings of our National Executive Committee both before and during the strike in order to get provincial reports, and consolidate the mandate from all the provinces into one single national mandate.

This is obviously a difficult process. A single province might have a position which is not supported by any of the other provinces, and in that case, the position of the majority will prevail. The province whose position has not won out might end up feeling unhappy, but will accept that we work on a majority basis, and the majority position will be abided by.

The negotiating team takes their mandate from the executive structures of the union. They do not go in as individuals, but as a team, and they do not go in representing themselves, they go in to put forward the mandate of the workers. Our negotiating teams is representative of all nine provinces in the union.

We have noted the comments, reported in The Star of 31 July 2009, purportedly made by some of our members in the Johannesburg branch. We call to task both the journalist involved, and The Star newspaper, for this type of sensationalist and unbalanced journalism, which results in them printing derogatory remarks from un-named sources. We regard it as poor journalism to say the least.

SAMWU reaffirms our full confidence in Cde. Mashishi as a vital part of the negotiating team. Cde. Mashishi, president of the union since its inception in 1987, has given years of his life to the union and to the broader working class struggle. One of the principles that he has always been steadfast on, and which he insists on in each and every meeting of the union, is worker control of the union. He is, and always has been, a staunch defender of worker democracy in the union.

As soon as our internal consultation and mandating process in relation to the wage strike has been completed, we will release a statement as to the way forward.

For comment contact General Secretary Mthandeki Nhlapo on 021 697 1151; or Deputy General Secretary Walter Theledi on 011 331 0334 or Collective Bargaining Officer Dale Forbes at 021 6971151

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