ISS is the international Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam
Who Defends Vulnerable Workers in South Africa? Aren’t Trade Unions supposed to defend them? Freek Schiphorst firstname.lastname@example.org Institute of Social Studies The Hague – The Netherlands www.iss.nl
Crisis in South AfricaLabour Force Surveys 2009: v Up till last quarter of 2008: growth in formal sector employment (but declining) In 2009: Job losses: 200,000 lost in 1st quarter 267,000 lost in 2nd quarter 484,000 lost in 3rd quarter =6.9% of formal employment
SA Labour Market Indicators ,000 Quarterly Labour force Survey July 2009:v Population 15-64 31,080 Total not economically active 12,068 Labour Force 19,012 Total employed 13,369 Total unemployed 5,643
,000 Vulnerable Workers in SA?Quarterly Labour force Survey July 2009:v Vulnerable 8,946 Total employed 13,369 Formal 9,356 Informal 2,109 Domestic 1,194 Agriculture 710 Total unemployed 5,643 Total 7,752
,000 Vulnerable Workers in SA?Quarterly Labour force Survey July 2009:v Vulnerable 8,946 (M=4,084; F=4,861) (M=46%; F=54%) Formal 9,356 (M=5,517; F=3,839) (M=47%; F=53%)
Trade Union Members 40% was organised in 2004 Four main federations and 250 independent trade unions. Since 2008: union membership dropped by 10 % Density is now just under 30% of formal employment t/u members earnings: CB results in 8 sectors 2006 Average Monthly Salaries 8,521 ZAR (7,950 Median)
Vulnerable Workers?Makgetla 2007 in 2007 ZAR 1,900 per month is needed for survival by a family of five Under ZAR 1,000 in domestic and agriculture 92% of informal workers less than 2,500 82% of informal workers less than 1,500 54% of informal workers less than 500
COSATU members - Vulnerable Workers?Naledi 2006:55 The COSATU survey found that union members generally earned 50% more than non-members. Union members stood a better chance of receiving benefits such as medical aid, retirement fund, paid leave and a written contract of employment.
Should COSATU Defend Vulnerable Workers? September Cie 1997 Recognises the existence of vulnerable & unprotected workers. The question facing COSATUis whether to start organising, or developing alliances with, working people in the informal sector Needed is Internal transfer of resources within COSATU from stronger affiliates
September Cie 1997 COSATU should follow two scenario’s encourage affiliates to expand their activities to include workers in informal sector activities in their industrial sectors encourage organisations of informal sector workers to affiliate to it, or even initiate the formation of informal-sector affiliates
COSATU What happened since 1997? Nothing Bonner 2004 Not high on the agenda Not prioritized Marginal support Atypical: football players & musicians Affiliates have targeted “atypical” or “non-standard” workers in waged employment, such as casual and outsourced workers, workers employed through labour brokers 2009: Campaign to outlaw labour brokers One resolution in 2009 COSATU Congress calls for a campaign to organise the unemployed (to be paid for by Department of Labour)
SEWU Self Employed Women’s Union, registered as NGO, 1994 – 2004 Membership was only open to women Survivalist activities 1997, offices in three provinces, 2001 in five All financed by foreign donors Membership reached in peak in 2003: 4930 Dramatic decline since then. Provincial Offices closed and in 2004 SEWU was declared bankrupt
Why? Slow progress and internal problems leading to withdrawal of donors Only lip-service support from local sectoral unions For main donor: Cold shoulder from COSATU
COSATU ? What seems to be the problem…? Organisational rigidities Organising IE is “Pat’s Thing”: not a mainstream concern Male domination? Wage culture – collective bargaining as sole logic of c/a?
Sikhula Sonke Originates from NGO: Women on Farms End 2004 registered as trade union Led by women Organizes seasonal workers Social movement trade union focussing on all livelihood challenges of farm dwellers
Sikhula Sonke improve the living and working conditions of members and their dependants, including the youth and elderly enhance the status of women and protect their interests bargain collectively on behalf of its members for improved wages and other working conditions, including housing improve the economic conditions of members by developing work and other economic opportunities represent its members in negotiations with employers, and local and national authorities.
Sikhula Sonke – COSATU? COSATU rep attended congress in 2006: “You achieved what not even our affiliate could do” Sikhula Sonke: “We’re nervous by the politics in COSATU. We prefer to remain non-political” Affiliation to COSATU? “At the moment we want to consolidate … maybe in the future …”
Sikhula Sonke as model? Is the dilemma for established trade unions how to combine Representation AND Empowerment