The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) notes with great concern and equally condemns with the contempt it deserves, the statement released by Transnet on 01 April 2022, which invites interested and qualifying operators to respond on the possible sale of “…slots on two key corridors on its rail network”.
Transnet’s proposal for gradual privatisation is not only opportunistic but undermines the views of organised labour. According to ensuing discussions, parties resolved that a comprehensive policy document as opposed to piecemeal presentations will be presented to organised labour for critical engagements on the future of the state-owned enterprise (SOE). Furthermore, the draft policy document had to be translated into a series of workshops that will enable the rank and file to enter into participatory democratic and mandatory processes concerning the reconstruction as opposed to the restructuring and unbundling of Transnet and its subsidiaries.
The union has on many occasions warned Transnet to refrain from impairing the principles of good corporate governance, transparency and collective bargaining. During the advent of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and its affiliates were unequivocal on the need to safeguard and prevent employers including the state from undermining collective bargaining at the expense of narrow bourgeois self-interests. It is unfortunate that Transnet has opted to become a conveyor belt and a class collaborator of the private sector by perpetuating unofficial bilateral decisions as opposed to advancing the philosophy of the entity and employees that create value through the sale and exploitation of their labour-power.
SATAWU distances itself from all processes and illegitimate decisions taken by Transnet and the private sector. Provided that Transnet continues with its plans to effect the illegal privatisation of the SOE, organised labour will be left with no choice but to advance its class interests by withdrawing workers from productive processes, on one hand, and to champion its voice through, countervailing forms of action, on the other. Under such conditions, the social and economic well-being of workers can only be positively negated when the proletariat as a class forces the system to desist from the historical development and reproduction of class antagonisms.
With this said, the union will not participate in any talks that aim to privatise the SOE. However, we wait for Transnet to present the much-awaited draft policy document that will enable workers to democratically engage in the future of their enterprise through reconstruction and not a restructuring and unbundling process.
Issued by: South African Transport & Allied Workers Union
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