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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:What's Good for General Motors? Black Workers' Response to Disinvestment, October-November, 1986
Author:Adler, Glen
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:black workers
foreign investments
Labor and Employment
Economics and Trade
Abstract:In the last months of 1986 thousands of black workers were forced to confront directly the impact of sanctions on their lives as many US companies disinvested from South Africa. In the most prominent example, virtually the entire black workforce of 1,900 at General Motors in Port Elizabeth downed tools and began a sit-in after management rejected worker demands drawn up in the wake of GM's decision to disinvest. The workers at GM never broke ranks with the sanctions movement by asking GM to remain in South Africa; rather they wanted to ensure they received what they regarded as their money before GM left. Besides, they were ready to deal with the new management. The strike was broken not because workers disagreed over demands, but because the company began to fire workers, successfully recruited replacements and called in the security forces who beat the strikers. The article explains the background to General Motors' withdrawal from South Africa and describes the cause, course and the end of the 1986 strike, which was backed by two, racially divided, unions. Notes, ref.