The following letter has been sent to the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) and National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).
Dear Frans and Zenzo,
We write to offer our fraternal solidarity in your struggle against labour brokering and the tolling of the Gauteng Freeway.
The push to force workers into insecure casual employment is truly a global phenomenon.
Our Canadian comrades in Alma, Quebec, have recently been locked out of their workplace by global mining giant Rio Tinto. The Company is attempting to replace unionised workers with cheaper, casual labour.
In New Zealand, workers at Ports of Auckland are currently fighting against the same employer-led drive to lower labour costs, by undercutting workers' hard fought pay and conditions.
Of course, here in Australia we are not immune either.
As you have rightly pointed out, labour brokering systems in South Africa are a form of human trafficking. Condemning workers to lives of poverty and insecurity through this wholly unnecessary practice is a disgrace. We join you in your call for your Government to ban such practices outright.
Without groups like SATAWU, NUM and the broader South African trade union movement there would be nothing to resist the too-often rapacious greed of employers. Without groups such as yours, there would be no one to fight for the rights of those who would otherwise be trampled.
We offer our sincere solidarity in your struggle.
We also wish to extend our thanks to Oupa Komane from NUM for making his way to Sydney to address our MUA National Conference last week. The ties that bind our organisations are strengthened by efforts such as his.
Yours in Solidarity,
National Secretary, MUA
President, International Transport Workers' Federation
Deputy National Secretary, MUA
Chair, Mining & Maritime Initiative