There are quite a few reports coming out from the COSATU conference hapening at the moment. Interesting how many of the subjects that have been touched on in this forum are coming up again. The state of the tri-partite alliance, the subtleties of Jeremy Cronin and the SACP, and of course dear Jacob Zuma endearing himself to the poorest of the poor.
I'm fascinated by what makes the headlines, as opposed to what we should be paying attention to. The difference between the journalists need for sensational headlines and the business need for critical information.
For example, the headline in this article on M&G is Satawu: Cost of strikes 'was huge'.
The main story is about the financial state of the union.
But for me, this is where the news that I want to know really starts.The strikes conducted by the South African Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu) in 2006 came at a "huge" financial cost, the union's general secretary Randall Howard said on Wednesday.
"It [the cost] was huge, with the level of arrests and bailing out comrades and lawyers," he said at Satawu's second national congress in Johannesburg. He declined to mention a figure.
Reports suggesting that the industrial actions had financially ruined the union were "all lies".
"There were those who wanted to run us down by suggesting the union was bankrupt."
Howard said other Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) affiliates had helped to relieve the cost of Satawu strikes. Satawu is Cosatu's fifth-largest affiliate.
So the union has an appetite for strikes and are not going to accpet inflation related increments. Now that is what I need to know.Satawu had already set up a strike fund to support future industrial action, but still needed to decide how members would contribute.
Howard said the union expected more strikes over the next three years as workers' economic conditions worsened.
"It is quite clear, with the widening income inequalities and the fact that we organise workers in vulnerable sectors ... we must [strike more] because employers are becoming more arrogant."
Howard said the rate of inflation could no longer be used to decide wage demands. Inflation-based increases did not cover workers' needs.