Challenges Faced by Trade Unions

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“Black labour unions in south Africa are of great value to policy makers who recognize that the industrial work force has often served as a catalyst for political progress and social change in the developing world. It was not uncommon for leaders of the independence movements to have come out of the ranks of organized labor, the trade unions were training grounds and early vehicles of political expression as they were often the only form of organized activity permitted by the colonial authorities.”.(Freeman & Bendahmane 1978, p.1) INTRODUCTION The South African history is one that has had a dramatic influence on all its citizens, socially, politically and economically. The difficulties faced by south Africans during oppression and the…show more content…
The outcome is inevitable: a choice to replace labour by mechanisation wherever possible. There is an iron-clad law involved: the more difficult it is to dismiss someone who is not doing the work they are paid to do, the less likely one is to employ anyone at all if there is any alternative route open. For example, a local entrepreneur was setting up a company to manufacture paper plates, and had the choice of employing 20 people in a low-tech but satisfactory approach, or investing R1.25m on a high-tech machine from Taiwan that would carry out the task, in this case employing only two people. In view of the above factors, he chose the latter route. Why then have these laws been introduced? A likely suggestion is that the Department of Labour is dominated by ex-trade unionists who have never created a job in their lives and so have not had to face the risks entrepreneurs take in so doing, but now largely control the shape of these labour laws. Now there certainly is a need for laws to protect workers from major exploitation, but the laws we now have in place are not those laws. They would be very suitable for a rich country like Switzerland or Sweden with a highly trained, disciplined, and highly motivated labour force – but that is precisely what we do not have, in the main. The essence of the current situation is
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