The Rise of South African Trade Unions
AbstractSince 1980, union membership and influence have risen in South Africa as they have fallen elsewhere. This contrast cannot be accounted for by structural changes in the economy, which have been similar in both South Africa and the OECD. It can be explained by the crucial role legislative reforms in 1979 played in facilitating union organization and collective bargaining. In addition, the labor movement's adherence to a philosophy of political unionism, as expressed in its active opposition to apartheid, helped in the recruitment and mobilization of disaffected workers. More recently, this philosophy has encouraged the labor movement to participate in government and has enabled unions to consolidate their organizational gains through new legislation and to acquire considerable influence over social and economic policies affecting labor.