ADOPTED AT THE FOUNDATION CONFERENCE OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN CONGRESS OF TRADE UNIONS, ON 5 MARCH 1955, AND INCLUDED AS A PREAMBLE TO ITS CONSTITUTION
Organize... or Starve!
History has shown that unorganised workers are unable to improve their wages and conditions of work on a lasting basis. Only where workers have organised in effective trade unions have they been able to improve their lot, raise their standard of living and generally protect themselves and their families against the insecurities of life.
The whole experience of the Trade Union Movement the world over has furthermore established the fact that the Movement can only progress on the basis of unity and in the spirit of brotherhood and solidarity of all workers. Trade Unions must unreservedly reject any attempts to sow disunity among the workers, on the basis of colour or nationality or any other basis. Just as the individual worker, or any group of workers, are unable to improve their lot without organisation into Trade Unions, so is the individual trade union powerless unless there is in existence a coordinating body of trade unions which unites the efforts of all workers. For such a trade union federation to be successful, it must be able to speak on behalf of all workers, irrespective of race or colour, nationality or sex.
The future of the people of South Africa is in the hands of its workers. Only the working class, in alliance with other progressive minded sections of the community, can build a happy life for all South Africans, a life free from unemployment, insecurity and poverty, free from racial hatred and oppression, a life of vast opportunities for all people. But the working class can only succeed in this great and noble endeavour if it itself is united and strong, if it is conscious of its inspiring responsibility. The workers of South Africa need a united trade union movement in which all sections of the working class can play their part unhindered by prejudice or racial discrimination. Only such a truly united movement can serve effectively the interests of the workers, both the immediate interests of higher wages and better conditions of life and work as well as the ultimate objective of complete emancipation, for which our forefathers have fought.
We firmly declare that the interests of all workers are alike, whether they be European, African, Coloured, Indian, English, Afrikaans or Jewish. We resolve that this coordinating body of trade unions shall strive to unite all workers in its ranks, without discrimination, and without prejudice. We resolve that this body shall determinedly seek to further and protect the interests of all workers, and that its guiding motto shall be the universal slogan of working class solidarity:
'AN INJURY TO ONE IS AN INJURY TO ALL! '