Naidoo was joined by another former Cosatu general secretary Vavi during the launch of the South African Federation of Trade Unions on Friday.
“Our country is now at crossroads. What we have to understand is that at that crossroads it is only one language that those in power understand and that is building power. It is not about how articulate we are‚ not about our power point presentation. It is do we have power at the point of production‚” said Naidoo.
The new federation comes after the country’s biggest union‚ the National Union of Metal Workers (Numsa)‚ was expelled by Cosatu. Numsa regrouped with Vavi‚ who had also been expelled from Cosatu‚ and other activists to mobilise and find a new home for workers.
Numsa openly criticised President Jacob Zuma and his Cabinet for ignoring the plight of the workers. Among one of the contentious issues was government insistence to go ahead and implement e-tolling in Gauteng against the will of the workers.
Naidoo urged that new federation to ensure that it is united and it puts people at the centre of all its goals.
He added that the “ancestors” who formed Cosatu would only want one thing — a united federation.
“They want us to be unified. They want our beautiful country to serve our people. There should be no unemployment. There should be no poverty. [What the ancestors of Cosatu are saying is] don’t just think about yourself. Think about the 55 million people. Think about 1994 where we made a covenant … and ask yourself why have we not done it.”