Trade unions in denial about dwindling membership


The saying that you can’t argue with statistics is true when it comes to trade union membership. In the last decade, trade unions might have lost as many as 1.5 million members, according to analysts. Just this year, collectively, their membership has declined from 3.3 million to 3 million.
But Zwelinzima Vavi, Secretary General of Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), maintains that trade unions membership – at least the 2, 2 million members that are card-carrying members of his organisation – remains steady.
“Yes some unions are losing membership but others are gaining. Yes, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has lost, but Numsa (the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) Is gaining”.
However, Vic van Vuuren, a director at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Pretoria, disputes Vavi’s claim. “Trade union membership is waning, based on trade union figures that themselves issue.”
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has been defending itself against the perception that it has lost its traditional blue-collar credentials due to its relationship with the ANC.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.