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ANC should know better

By unknown | Sep 23, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma's reasons why soldiers should not be unionised cannot be sufficient.

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma's reasons why soldiers should not be unionised cannot be sufficient.

According to reports Zuma thinks we would be a funny country if a war broke out and we found our soldiers on strike.

"You can imagine South Africa being attacked and soldiers having grievances and going on strike," Zuma said.

What Zuma fails to consider is the more grave possibility of a war breaking out and our soldiers being so demoralised that they do not feel like dying for a country they feel does not care for them.

That is a far graver security risk than allowing them to be unionised.

Zuma and the ANC National Executive Committee conflate being members of a recognised union with the ability of workers who believe they have the same concerns to organise themselves into a body that fights for their common interests.

Such a body might or might not be called a union. Already there are plenty of examples, such as professional and staff associations.

But even if the state were to outlaw such formations for soldiers, the ANC need not look further than itself to realise that an unhappy people will not sit still just because the law says they should.

And if we have learnt anything from industrial relations history, it is that workplaces are more peaceful and predictable when the employee representatives are known and recognised than where they are wished away.

The present ANC leadership, with its supposed shift to the left, should know that better than anyone else.


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