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- Volume 30, Issue 1, 2006
South African Journal of Labour Relations - Volume 30, Issue 1, 2006
Volumes & issues
Volume 30, Issue 1, 2006
Forming, storming, norming and performing : transformation of labour relations in the South African automobile industryAuthor Mark AnsteySource: South African Journal of Labour Relations 30, pp 6 –29 (2006)More Less
This article analyses the transformation of labour relations in South Africa's automobile industry in the context of international trends in the industry and South Africa's political transition and drive to achieve growth through integration in the global economy. The strategic choices of auto manufacturers, organised labour and successive governments which shaped the industry are mapped through a formative phase (1920-1974) during which the industry grew in a context of racial corporatism and protectionist policies; a period of "storming" (1975-89) as the industry became a site of struggle in South Africa's political transition; and a "norming" phase (1990-2004) in which parties have redesigned relations to ensure competitiveness in the global economy. Automobile production is now at a record high in the context of export-oriented government policies, an investment surge and "new agreements" between employers and unions. The transformation has, however, been difficult, and in the light of a fast changing environment may be hard to sustain.
An evaluation of the role and potential of the informal economy for employment creation in South AfricaAuthor Andre LigthelmSource: South African Journal of Labour Relations 30, pp 30 –50 (2006)More Less
The South African labour market is strongly segmented into various components. In this article a distinction is made between the formal and informal labour segments. The aim of this article is to reflect the changes in the labour market by illustrating the production elasticity of employment and the increasing role played by the informal economy which acts as a safety net for the unemployed. Macroeconomic explanations are advanced for the increasing accommodation of workers in the informal economy. It is argued that the economic environment is showing the characteristics of capital deintensification, movement towards a knowledge economy and hence a growing appetite for highly educated and skilled labour. This structural movement supports the hypothesis that skills development provides the single best way to accommodate the demand for skilled labour in the formal economy while at the same time allowing for improved entrepreneurial activity in the informal economy.
Source: South African Journal of Labour Relations 30, pp 51 –75 (2006)More Less
Contemporary international labour history requires comparisons between countries or regions, instead of purely descriptive or qualitative studies about one single locality. In order to understand why certain labour developments took place it should be asked whether they are the result of local or global developments. In this article we compare the histories of strikes in South Africa and the Netherlands for the period 1900-1998. First, the comparison is made in a qualitative way by giving written histories. Secondly, we compare both countries by calculating a composite index on the basis of official data for South Africa and newly collected data for the Netherlands. The somewhat striking conclusion from both ways of making a comparison is that the histories of strike movements in both countries are more similar than one might expect.
Unions, training and development : a case study of African seafarers and the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF)Source: South African Journal of Labour Relations 30, pp 76 –90 (2006)More Less
This article highlights the problems facing organised labour in highly globalised and poorly regulated industries and, through a case study of a union-initiated training programme in the shipping industry, seeks to shed further light on the role and potential of unions in promoting human resource development. More specifically, the authors investigate the relative success of the pilot scheme of the International Transport Workers' Federation in upgrading the skills of African seafarers in southern Africa. While the initiative did result in a number of African seafarers being able to upgrade their qualifications to international standards, a number of serious difficulties were encountered, stemming from the top-down nature of the scheme, a lack of internal democracy, and limited attention being accorded to labour market realities. It is concluded that although the current crisis of demand for African seafarers may be partially ameliorated by focused skills development initiatives, it can only be redressed by comprehensive policy interventions, involving the state, the international labour movement, regional unions and employers.
Author Jantjie XabaSource: South African Journal of Labour Relations 30, pp 91 –108 (2006)More Less
The Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) has been used by many organisations in the past to address drug addiction, stress and family problems, which both reduce productivity and lower morale among employees. However, concerns about job losses and the possibility of facing unemployment after retrenchment led Steelco to develop EAP, first in the South African context, to support the retrenchees with training, counselling and financial advice on finding employment and starting businesses. This study aims to investigate how EAP assisted the retrenchees to find employment and start businesses. The study has found that a number of factors contributed to the failure of EAP. It recommends that the establishment of an EAP be preceded by a needs assessment and proper consultation with unions, and that consideration be given to the needs of poorly educated, unskilled workers.