n South African Journal of Labour Relations - From MWU to solidarity - a trade union reinventing itself
|Article Title||From MWU to solidarity - a trade union reinventing itself|
|© Publisher:||University of South Africa (UNISA)|
|Journal||South African Journal of Labour Relations|
|Publication Date||Jan 2006|
|Pages||19 - 41|
As South Africa's most prominent white trade union of the 20th century, the Mine Workers' Union became renowned for defending white job reservation in the mining industry. After 1948 it enjoyed the NP government's support in this regard. Skilled labour shortages and changing labour conditions in the 1970s forced the government to introduce labour reform. Job reservation was scrapped and black unions were officially recognised, in accordance with the recommendations of the Wiehahn Commission. These initiatives put the MWU on a confrontational path with the government and the union aligned itself with right-wing political resistance and protest. However, the altered political and economic South African realities after 1994 forced the MWU to rethink its vision, strategies and structures. By 2002 it had reinvented and transformed itself into Solidarity, adequately equipped and geared to address the labour challenges and demands of a post-apartheid South Africa.
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