Carol Paton Editor at large

With the economy facing a bloodbath of retrenchments, a few weeks back I asked the top leadership of union federation Cosatu at a press conference if they believed it was their role at all to attract investment and create new jobs. Being in the business of numbers, I thought they might see more jobs and therefore more members as an attractive idea. The response was indignant. The new Cosatu president, Zingiswa Losi, said: “Cosatu does not create jobs. Government’s responsibility is to create the environment conducive for investment. Our role is to ensure that the rights of workers are not trampled on. Our responsibility as trade unions is to ensure that no workers will be exploited in the name of investment.” Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalishali said: “Our role has been to defend labour laws and clarify to investors coming to SA they will have to face strong trade unions. Of course we need foreign investment but not at all costs,” he said. Trade unions are right to be vigilan...

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