Federation of Unions of South Africa

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Federation of Unions of South Africa
Founded1 April 1997 (1997-04-01)
HeadquartersJohannesburg, South Africa
Key people
Godfrey Selamatsela, President
Riefdah Ajam, General Secretary
Martle Keyter, Deputy President

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) is the second largest national trade union center in South Africa.


The federation was founded on 1 April 1997, when the Federation of South African Labour Unions merged with the Federation of Organisations Representing Civil Employees.[1] Many affiliates of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions also joined.[2] On founding, about 80% of its members were white-collar workers, and 70% were white.[3]

The federation worked closely with the World Confederation of Labour, but did not affiliate. Instead, in 1998, it affiliated to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, and has continued membership of its successor, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).[3] In 2006, it began negotiating a merger with the rival National Council of Trade Unions. They formed an umbrella organisation, the South African Confederation of Trade Unions, in 2007, but it achieved little, and the two federations remained independent.[4]

The federation has favoured negotiation over industrial action. In 2015, it advised its public sector affiliates to accept a pay rise lower than that offered, in order to reduce government expenditure. It has placed a strong focus on its union education programme.[5] In 2019, its long-term general secretary was dismissed after being accused of corruption. By 2020, it claimed a membership of 700,000, although the ITUC quoted a figure of 500,000.[3]


Current affiliates[edit]

The following unions were listed as affiliates, as of 2021:[6]

Union Abbreviation Founded Membership (2011)[7]
Administrative, Library and Technical Staff Associates ALTSA
Airline Pilots Association of South Africa ALPA-SA 1,591
Health & Other Services Personnel Trade Union of South Africa HOSPERSA 1994 64,742
Hospitality Industry and Allied Workers' Union HIAWU 1929
Insurance and Banking Staff Association IBSA 7,963
Motor Industry Staff Association MISA 1949 30,039
Motor Transport Workers' Union MTWU
National Security and Unqualified Workers' Union NASUWU 9,534
National Union of Leather and Allied Workers NULAW 1926 7,824
National Tertiary Education Union NTEU 2009
Public Servants' Association of South Africa PSA 1920
Professional Transport and Allied Workers' Union PTAWU 1980 17,600
South African Communication Union SACU 1994 5,136
South African Parastatal and Tertiary Institutions Union SAPTU 2008
South African Typographical Union SATU 1898 11,344
Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysers Unie SAOU 1997 32,029
Tertiary Education National Union of South Africa TENUSA 2005
United Association of South Africa UASA 1998 74,138
United National Public Servants Association of South Africa and Allied Workers Union UNIPSAWU 1998
United National Transport Union UNTU 2012 N/A

Former affiliates[edit]

Union[8] Abbreviation Founded Left Reason not affiliated Membership (1999)[9]
Administrative, Technical and Electronic Association of South Africa ATEASA 1996 1998 Merged into UASA N/A
Care Centre, Catering, Retail and Allied Workers' Union CCRAWUSA
Construction and Engineering Industrial Workers' Union CEIWU
Eskom Employees' Association EEA 2010 Dissolved N/A
Food and General Workers' Union F&G 1,912
Hairdressers' and Cosmetologists' Trade Union 2000 Merged into UASA 5,591
Independent Municipal & Allied Trade Union IMATU 1996 Disaffiliated 66,657
Independent Performing Arts Trade Union IPATU 120
Internal Staff Association ITA Merged into SAPTU N/A
Jewellers' and Goldsmiths' Union J&GU 1939
Millennium Workers' Union MWU
Mouth Peace Workers' Union MPWU 1997
National Democratic Change and Allied Workers' Union NDCAWU
National Teachers' Union NATU
National Union of Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Commercial, Health and Allied Workers NUHRCCHAW
National Union of Prosecutors of South Africa NUPSA 2023 Merged into PSA 232
Officials' Association of South Africa OASA 1918 1998 Merged into UASA N/A
Post and Telecom Association P&T 1902 6,358
Professional Health Organisation of South Africa PHOSA 2012 Dissolved
Public and Allied Workers' Union of South Africa PAWUSA 1967 Transferred to COSATU 24,943
SALSTAFF SALSTAFF 1918 2002 Merged into UASA 16,357
South African Airways Flight Engineers' Association SAAFEA 2009 159
South African Blindworkers' Organisation SABWO Disaffiliated
South African Diamond Workers' Union SADWU 2001 Merged into UASA 910
South African Footplate Staff Association SAFSA 1905 2000 Merged into UTATU 10,000
South African Independent and Allied Workers' Union SAI&AWU 2004
South African Railways and Harbours Union SARWHU 2001 2012 Merged into UNTU N/A
South African Telecommunications Association SATA N/A
South African Workers' Union SAWU 1936 2001 Transferred to Solidarity 21,798
Staff Association for the Motor and Related Industries SAMRI 2001 Merged into UASA 1,333
Sweet Workers' Union SWU 1925 2005 Dissolved N/A
Technical Workers' Union TWU 1924 2000 Merged into UTATU 11,118
United Private Sector Workers' Union UPSWU 2008
United Transport and Allied Trade Union UTATU 2000 2012 Merged into UNTU N/A
Werknemers Unie van Suid-Afrika WUSA


General Secretaries[edit]

1997: Chez Milani
2006: Dennis George
2019: Riefdah Ajam


1997: Mary Malete
2008: Danie Carstens
2011: Koos Bezuidenhout
2016: Godfrey Selematsela


  1. ^ "FEDUSA - Federation of Unions of South Africa". FEDUSA. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  2. ^ Bendix, Sonia (2001). Industrial Relations in South Africa. Juta. ISBN 9780702152795.
  3. ^ a b c Blackburn, Daniel (2021). Trade Unions of the World (PDF). ICTUR. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  4. ^ "Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA)". South African History Online. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  5. ^ Ludman, Barbara; Stober, Paul (2004). The Mail & Guardian A-Z of South African Politics: The Essential Handbook. Jacana Media. ISBN 1770090231.
  6. ^ "Affiliated trade unions". FEDUSA. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  7. ^ "COSATU's membership: All the facts". Politics Web. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  8. ^ "FEDUSA: Working for the nation" (PDF). South African History Online. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  9. ^ Finnemore, Martheanne (1999). Introduction to Labour Relations in South Africa. 9780409028003.

External links[edit]