NUMSA commemorates the 100 year anniversary of the Russian Revolution


31 May 2018, Posted in Press Releases

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), the biggest trade union in South Africa with over 360 thousand members condemns in the strongest terms the ANC-led government for passing the Poverty National Minimum Wage Bill and the amendments to the Labour Relations Act. NUMSA has vehemently opposed the proposed changes to the labour legislation because we view them as an attack on the working class. We reject the poverty National Minimum Wage of R20, R18, R15 and R11 per hour because it is too low. No one can raise their family on such low wages especially when companies in South Africa make obscene profits. Furthermore, we reject the proposal to force workers to ballot before a strike because it is a limitation on the right to strike.

South Africa is one of the most unequal societies in the world, with more than half the population living in abject poverty. More than two decades since Apartheid ended and inequality and poverty continue to be a burden for the African working class majority. Today, the average white household earns five times more than the average African household. This sad statistic reflects the lack of genuine transformation to undo the painful brutal legacy of our racist past.

This government had the opportunity to use its power in the interests of the working class majority to drive the implementation of a living wage. A living wage is necessary to bridge the wage gap between Black and white labour, and simultaneously, it is a weapon to effectively tackle inequality. If we want our economy to grow, then advocating for a living wage is the only choice we have if we want to create an economically active workforce which can contribute meaningfully to the economy.

The ANC together with trade union federations COSATU, FEDUSA and NACTU have chosen to defend white monopoly capital at the expense of the working class and their own members. They also used the NEDLAC platform to help the state to oppress workers and their families. They are making it easier for corporate South Africa to continue to exploit workers. Clearly as individuals, these leaders stand to personally benefit from supporting the ANC and Cyril Ramaphosa in particular, even if the policies he is driving have been disastrous for workers and even their own members.


We reject the right wing Thatcherist agenda of Cyril Ramaphosa. The president is using his so called “New Dawn” to oppress and to drive the exploitation of the working class. Since taking office the suffering of the working class has increased. The state has increased general taxes in the form of VAT; the electricity price has gone up and the cost of all basic goods has increased exponentially because of increases in the fuel price. The state has done everything possible to please business at the expense of the Black and African working class. The ANC government and the leadership of COSATU will go down in history as the butchers of the South African working class majority because they sold out the hard won gains of workers to the highest bidder.

NUMSA supports the call made by SAFTU to intensify mass action on the ground to reverse the implementation of these draconian laws. At the same time, we support the legal action to defend the right to strike. It is clear that the ANC is implementing the National Development Plan whose goal is to create a pool of cheap Black and African labour, which does not have the power to strike in order to improve its conditions. Workers fought and died for the right to strike and, as NUMSA we will not allow this government to oppress us by attacking this hard won right. We will fight with all our might to defend this sacred right!

We are inspired by the words of former president Nelson Mandela who said:

“If the ANC does to you what the Apartheid government did to you, then you must do to the ANC what you did to the Apartheid government.”

Aluta continua!

The struggle continues!

Issued by Irvin Jim

NUMSA General Secretary.

For more information please contact:

Phakamile Hlubi-Majola

NUMSA National Spokesperson (Acting)