Browsing All posts tagged under »workers«

The prospects for a ‘confusion of unions’

May 7, 2016


The best way to describe the situation in the South African labour movement at present is that it is in a state of flux: of ongoing change in conditions of instability. As such, an appropriate collective noun may be a confusion of unions; confusion that may, hopefully, be resolved.

Watch out when China coughs

April 22, 2016


It has been said that if Wall Street sneezes, the world catches cold. Today it would probably be more accurate to say that if China coughs, an already economically weakened world faces the threat of double pneumonia.

Hope amid joblessness and exploitation

August 17, 2012


Even amid drudgery and disappointment, there can be Cinderella moments; times when there is a glimpse of what may be possible; times when even the humblest and most exploited may be able to indulge, however briefly, in the illusion of what a better life might really be. But real Cinderella moments tend to contain a social bite, for all their contradictions, because they retain their moorings in reality.

A strike that could be a tactical blunder

September 2, 2011


If South Africa's major trade union federation, Cosatu, goes ahead with its planned one-day national strike on October 5 it could prove to be a major tactical blunder that will weaken, rather than strengthen, the labour movement.

Hope on the domestic slavery horizon

August 5, 2011


The International Labour Organisation has finally placed domestic workers — the nannies, maids, chars and house helps — on the same footing as other workers in terms of a decent work agenda. At least in theory. But, as the South African experience shows, there is a very long was to go in practice — and not only for domestic workers.

Defining workers and the working class

March 18, 2011


Who is a worker? And what constitutes the working class? These questions were thrown into sharp relief last month by a Cape Town reader, Tim Anderson. In a letter to the editor he asked me to explain the criteria that distinguishes someone as a worker. And he introduced the element of trade unions, organisations that […]

Some food for thought in 2011

December 17, 2010


This is the last Inside Labour column for 2010. So I want to take this opportunity not only to wish all readers the best for the season and the coming year, but also to touch on some of the baggage — on a micro and macro level — being carried forward into 2011. At a […]

Turning the (non-existent) economic corner

November 24, 2010


We have turned the corner economically. That is the ongoing claim from politicians, pundits and mainstream media commentators. But, as Federation of Unions of SA general secretary Dennis George has noted: “Growth without job creation is meaningless. It certainly is for the overwhelming majority of the population, and this is a situation that applies across the world, although not in any uniform manner. For all the optimistic pronouncements, the global economic crisis continues and there is no sign that it is ending.