Role of Trade Unions in South Africa

2491 Words Oct 26th, 2008 10 Pages
The essence of the discussion is to outline the role of trade unions from its traditional role as compared to its role now in contemporary times most notably in post-Apartheid South Africa. One aims to look at how trade unions have coped with the changing nature of work as the traditional role of the worker has evolved over time, as there is an influx of more casualized labour. The impact of globalization on trade unions also has to be examined and how it has affected their traditional role .The question this piece tries to answer henceforth is whether Trade unions have forgotten the interests of the workers and have these interests been undertaken by social movements.

To start the debate one would have to first understand the role of
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The essence of this worker is that in times of production they can be brought into the workplace on temporary contracts and when the production is low they are pushed out. One would have to consider then how their interests are best served and if they can be classified as the working class and the other problem, that arises form this group of workers is that they are all over the place and how can they be unionized and one may argue that the unions are reluctant to represent them since they do not pay subscriptions. The other issue is that this temporal work is legally endorsed but it goes against the unions’ policy of full time employment. The centre of the new work order consists of the core and non core workers (Webster et al 2003, 16). The core workers are involved in the informational economy that is based on knowledge and innovation. These core workers are based mainly focus on the design and conceptualization of a product and this makes them more of management and therefore not really the working class. The last phase of employees that are found are those that are self-employed as these people are merely just making a living and therefore they cannot join a union to address issues against themselves this just means that due to the change in the role of work trade unions seem not to be providing the interests of the workers.

The major challenge which Cosatu faces apart from the changing nature of work is that in its