How NUMSA funds its activities
NUMSA funds its activities through subscriptions. This is how the subscriptions were spent in 1996/7:
Numsa has a staff of just over 345 full time officials. Half of these are organisers and the other half are administrators. Organisers are field workers. They must visit factories, help shop stewards with problems and with negotiating with their employers. Administrators are based in Numsa’s offices.
They are trained to give advice on the new LRA, on issues that affect workers like the Unemployment Insurance Fund, the Health and Safety laws and taxation. Most of Numsa’s income is spent on the salaries of its staff.
Numsa has an active education programme for its shop stewards and staff. Last year it trained shop stewards on the new LRA and on issues like calculating if the right tax is being deducted, how to claim UIF, and compensation if you are injured at work. It keeps its members informed through newspapers like this one. 6 issues of Numsa News are produced a year.
In the past, Numsa relied heavily on overseas trade unions, especially those from Nordic countries, to fund our education programmes. This year, we will get some funding from overseas trade unions, but most of the money will come from members’ subscriptions.
Funeral and Death Fund:
Last year Numsa had two funds – the Funeral and Death Fund. However, much more money was going out of the Funds to pay members than was coming in from members.
Early in 1998, Numsa’s Central Committee took a decision to close down the Death Fund and to improve the Funeral Fund so that the Funds would not carry on draining the Union’s resources.
Numsa has 9 regions. Regions need money to run their offices, to pay their telephones, their electricity, their postage, their meetings.
Numsa has 9 regions. Regions need money to run their offices, to pay their telephones, their electricity, their postage, their meetings. Keeping a big organisation like Numsa ticking over each month needs money.
This shows the cost of paying for computers, electricity, telephones, stationery. Also included here are international trade union costs – attending meetings, building solidarity.
Numsa has trained legal officers in each of its 9 regions and two legal officers in its head office. They deal with most disputes but complex disputes go to professional lawyers.
Collective bargaining and meetings:
Numsa’s key focus is collective bargaining for all its sectors. Numsa organises more than 10 000 companies. Instead of negotiating at each and every workplace, it negotiates at a central level in each of the 3 major sectors: engineering, auto/tyre and motor. The money is spent on holding workshops at all levels to find out what workers want to demand, to report back on progress in the negotiations and to publish booklets telling shop stewards what we have achieved.
To follow its constitution and be democratic, Numsa holds constitutional meetings at all levels to carry out the mandates of its members. Numsa has to pay transport, loss of earnings and accommodation costs for meetings.
Numsa is affiliated to three different trade union federations: the IndustriAll, and the International Chemical, Energy and Mining Federation (ICEM), World Federation of Trade Unions.
The IMF and ICEM unite workers from around the world. Through them we link with other trade unions in other parts of the world so we can find out what is happening across the oceans and learn from their battles. We also give them solidarity when they are having disputes.
Photocopying and faxing:
Numsa has photocopy machines in all of its offices. Being democratic is very difficult if people don’t have information. Every office has a photocopy and fax machine to help pass the information on to more people and keep us in touch with companies.
As Numsa’s membership has grown and as it has managed its finances better, it now has a surplus to invest.
Buying of new offices:
Last year Numsa invested in two new buildings – it bought a new building for its head office in Johannesburg and for its regional office in Pretoria.
Almost all of Numsa’s offices are rented. During the 1980s it was not wise to own buildings because of the frequent attacks on Numsa offices. Now Numsa will try and put more money aside to buy some more buildings for its offices.