Maximum Working Class Unity? Challenges to Local Social Movement Unionism in Cape Town

This thesis examines the obstacles encountered by organised workers and poor communities

trying to unite their forces in post-apartheid South Africa. South African trade unions fight for

decent job conditions in a society undergoing constant change. While keeping a steady course

away from its apartheid past, the country gets all the more enveloped in the global economy.

Some observers of this globalisation call for organised labour to forge alliances with other

progressive forces in civil society to stand their ground. Such an alliance requires a trade union

reaching beyond the realm of production, including a wider set of issues onto their agenda. This

is not an unfamiliar approach to the workers of South Africa. Trade unions can proudly look

back on an anti-apartheid struggle where strong alliances across society formed the backbone of

their political opposition ...

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David Christoffer Lier
Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo