Trade Union Advisory Coordinating Council (TUACC)

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The Trade Union Advisory and Coordinating Council (TUACC) was formed in October 1973* with the Metal and Allied Workers Union (MAWU) and National Union of Textile Workers (NUTW) as founding members. Instrumental to its formation were members who had worked with the Wages Commission and the General Factory Workers Benefit Fund.

According to its constitution the TUACC had been formed “to co-ordinate the activities of all open trade unionsin Natal and the activities of interested bodies or persons.”  It was also formed to create a tight, unified and defensive structure. It provided a forum where workers from different trade unions could share ideas and compare tactics, and it helped them to develop common policies.

TUACC also played a crucial in creating a vision of a tight trade union federation which focused on the development of strong shop floor structures. It used shop stewards as the key organisers on factory floors. The council recognised the vulnerability of the emerging trade union movement.

The council had a close working relationship with the KwaZulu leadership, especially Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Barney Dladla. Buthelezi urged TUACC to join Inkatha after its formation in 1975. One of the key decisions of the TUACC was also to insist that only ‘open’ trade unions could become members.

TUACC defined ‘open’ trade unions as those that accepted all workers, ‘”¦ regardless of race, religion or sex’, challenging the widespread practice of organising black and white workers into separate ‘parallel’ trade unions. The TUACC unions stressed the need for democratic, non-racial trade unions, and insisted that workers at all levels control any new federation.

*Some sources have 6 January 1974 as the date of formation.

• Sellström, T, (2002), Sweden and National Liberation in Southern Africa: Solidarity and Assistance in Southern Africa, Volume II, Solidarity and Assistance 1970-1994, (Stockholm), p.468
• Hemson, D., Legassick, M., and Ulrich, N., ‘White Activists in the Revival of the Worker’s Movement’ in The Road to Democracy in South Africa, Volume 2, 1970-1980, (Pretoria ”“UNISA), p.259

Last updated : 14-Feb-2013

This article was produced by South African History Online on 05-Feb-2013

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