NUTWNational Union of Textile Workers (formed 1890)
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Ashwell informed her that the NUTW 'was a dead union and that it was a "bush" union and that I would soon join it' outside the workplace (i.e.
Nearly all the affiants insisted that the company had bullied or tricked them into signing TWIU cards; they now wanted to resign from the company union, and intended to remain members of the NUTW. The one exception was Noreen Dludla, a TWIU recruiter who worked in the relatively privileged position of 'tea girl' in the winding department, where she had circulated at management's behest to sign up thirty workers in her section to the TWIU.18
Copelyn soon brought their cases back to the court, using the new labour code to charge this as a clear case of illegal victimization of workers who refused to abandon the NUTW for the TWIU (Copelyn 2016).
Zandile Mncube, for instance, had joined the NUTW back in 1977.
Phumbele Shange, like Mncube a worker in the warping section and a long-time Kranzkloof resident, where she attended NUTW mass meetings, told a similar story.
They went further, and reminded Shange that the state's Security Branch had taped all the NUTW meetings and reported them back to the company (a chilling threat, given the arrest and torture of many union activists at the time).
Shange was not the only young woman worker who challenged the assertion of male as well as managerial authority to defend her chosen allegiance to the NUTW. Nonhlanhla Msomi, a Frametex spinner who lived in Ntuzuma Township, about 10 kilometres from Pinetown, was asked if her husband knew of her NUTW membership and if he approved.
In a further series of affidavits submitted to the courts, Copelyn challenged the CFCC's transfer and then retrenchment of several NUTW shop-floor organizers active in the Frametex spinning department.
Firstly, where the revised Labour Relations Act potentially opened the way for a militant shop-floor union like the NUTW, employers quickly sought alternatives with which to corral their African workers and immunize them against the FOSATU unions.
Of course, the NUTW and other FOSATU unions (including MAWU, the Metal and Allied Workers Union) pressed in the other direction, and continued to demand that factory-specific, local negotiation remain the key focus of labour-management relations.
As the NUTW reported in 1984, 'the recruiting battle is being won.
Indeed, the strategy in this case proved successful, as the CFCC was finally forced to recognize the NUTW at its Frametex plant in 1985, a result that Copelyn recalls as being in 'its effects on our membership nothing short of transformative' (Copelyn 20 1 6).