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SATAWU: our host union

1 August 2006

Our host union is the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu), a union formed in 2000 from the merger between the Transport and General Workers’ Union (TGWU) and South African Railways and Harbours Workers’ Union (Sarhwu). The TGWU and Sarhwu were founding affiliates of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu). Cosatu’s policy of “one industry, one union” was the driving force behind the merger.

At the time of the merger, Sarhwu’s membership was concentrated in the state-owned transport group, Transnet, while the TGWU’s membership was based mainly in the private transport sector (all transport modes) as well as the municipal transport sector (buses). The TGWU also organised contract cleaning and security workers.

Satawu and other Cosatu affiliates are able to exert a relatively high degree of influence in South Africa. In the transport sector, Satawu, through a combination of mass action and tough negotiations, has been able to halt rail privatisation.

Satawu General Secretary Randall Howard acknowledges that the former TGWU and Sarhwu were major recipients of ITF co-ordinated solidarity and support during the days of apartheid. “We have learned through experience how important that can be – both at the level of practical solidarity and at the level of morale,” he said.

“This makes us all the more proud to be hosting the 2006 ITF Congress in Durban. It is our moment to give something back and to share the fruits of our long struggle, including the vitality of the South African workers’ movement and our culture.”




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ITF House, 49-60 Borough Road, London SE1 1DR  |  +44 20 7403 2733   |  mail@itf.org.uk