Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #185) - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
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Title: Long Walk Original Manuscript (Image #185)
Transcript: social and cutural well being of the workers. Unlike all other trade union co ordinating bodies in the country, it opened the doors to all trade unions irrespective of race or colour. Its office bearers and executive members have been non racial from its inception. Bacause the economic and political aspirations of the workers are inextricably linked SACTU decided at its inaugural conference to take an active part in the political struggle of the people and accordingly became a member of the Congress Alliance; took part in the Congress of the People, stay at homes and other campaigns. Reciprocally the sister Congresses actively helped organise the unorganised workers into SACTU under the slogan "the trade union and the Congress membership are the spear and the shield of the workers".
Because the unions affiliated to SACTU were largely African unions which were legally not recognised, and because the government, the Department of Labour and police were hostile to SACTU unions, the employers were encouraged to ignore SACTU's demands, dismiss its leading workers from the factories with a view to killing trade unionism amongst them. The unions had therefore to resort to the strike weapon but only after exhausting all other peaceful methods of resolving disputes. Practically every strike brought the police, the Department of Labour, industrial councils and even some white trade unions together into an unholy strike breaking alliance and it was typical for the cause of the strike to be totally ignored. The workers were arrested, charged and very often heavy sentences were imposed. In other cases they were expelled not only from work but from theri homes and compounds or endorsed out of the urban areas altogether. In yet other cases they were brutally assaulted and driven back to work by force.
Extent and Medium: 1 page