White workers join COSATU


White workers join COSATU

More than 1000 white workers in the transport giant Transnet — some of them members of the right-wing Conservative Party — have joined the COSATU [Council of South African Unions] affiliate, the SA Railways and Harbour Workers' Union (SARHWU).

A spokesperson said the workers realised that the predominantly black union was the only union in Transnet that consistently defends workers' rights.

The spokesperson, a cabin steward on SA Airways, said the move started six months ago, when management began cutting back worker benefits. "We have joined SARHWU for job security, not for its politics", he said, "and we are going to abide by the constitution like all other members".

Meanwhile, a ballooning hospital strike ended with workers accepting the pending decision of independent arbitrators on whether a controversial R500 bonus should be paid to all hospital workers.

In Durban, though, 900 workers are striking for the second week against chemical giant Unilever. Workers want a 13% across-the-board wage hike; the company's offer is 6-8%. Officials of the Chemical Workers' Industrial Union are accusing management of offering workers pay increases if they quit the union.

[South Africa Watch via Pegasus.]