Mhambi has been redeployed.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Solidariteit (and NUMSA) top of the Union pops

Wow! Solidariteit has won the Labour Website of the Year 2007 competition. And the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa came 8th.

This is the first time 3 websites of the developing world made it into the top 10, two being South African and one from the Philippines.

This is how the winners were described on the labour-start website:

1. Solidarity - 872 votes. The winner this year is the South African union Solidarity. Solidarity placed second in last year's competition and this year won in a close race. Its highly professional website is fully bilingual (English and Afrikaans), you can join online "in under a minute", and the union has a mailing list of 30,000 email addresses. Its members are obviously enthusiastic and are proud of the effort their union is making online. Congratulatory messages may be sent to its Deputy General Secretary, Dirk Hermann -

2. UNISON - 809 votes. With over 1.3 million members, you'd expect the largest union in Britain to have a first rate website, and it does. UNISON very nearly won this year's competition following up on last year's win by another British union, but fell only a few dozen votes short.

8. NUMSA - 206 votes. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa is one of two South African unions to make it to our top ten this year, the first time that's ever happened. A COSATU affiliate, this 216,000 member union has a long history of standing up for workers' rights -- and a website to be proud of.

And if your wondering why Mhambi bothers writing about unions, here's why. In South Africa they togther with the courts are the last and most effective line if defence against government (or non government). And they are one of the best ways to organise and mobilise society. Just look at what happened in Zimbabwe and in South Africa in the 80's.

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HannesB said...

Isn't it really ironic that the current Afrikaans labour union has its roots in right-wing conservative thinking (just as the old National Party was at its roots a socialist party, but never, oh never wanted to admit to it - socialism was considered to be evil)? I think many of Solidarity's members probably stil do not see the labour movement as essentially left-wing, the way it is seen in the rest of the world.

Wessel said...

How right you are Hannes. The Nationalists were ecomomicaly left of the ANC in many respects.

Weird how perceptions, pronouncements and reality diverge. The Nats during their rule, decreased economic inequality for all South Africans, and built local industry to move South Africa away from being only a supplier of commodities to the West. Without the Hertzog government's efforts to build the local economy, would their have been a big mighty Cosatu?

The ANC has presided over an ever increasing gap in economic inequality. It has presided over de-industrialisation, and it has allowed companies like Anglo-American to list offshore.

The Afrikaners launched Africa's largest body of literature, covering the whole gambit of human experiences and even gay literature. It's time for a major reassesment of the Afrikaners role on the continent.

Afrikaners themselves need to see where their formative roots lie, when the likes of De la Rey were anti-colonial freedom fighters - and the heros of the international left.