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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Strength in Numbers: The Durban Student Wages Commission, Dockworkers and the Poverty Datum Line, 1971-1973
Author:Davie, Grace
Year:2007
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Volume:33
Issue:2
Period:June
Pages:401-420
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:student movements
poverty datum line
wages
dockworkers
Labor and Employment
Economics and Trade
History and Exploration
Link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/03057070701292780
Abstract:In the early 1970s, white university students helped change debate about low wages in South Africa by convincing workers to base their claims for higher pay on the poverty datum line (PDL), an academic measure of the cost of living for average urban households. Founding members of the Student Wages Commission reached out to workers through propaganda, overcame workers' initial suspicions, avoided infiltration by police spies and eventually convinced dockworkers to attend meetings of the Department of Labour's Wage Board. Through a complex process of translation, statistics became a means of speaking back to the State. By winning media support and persuading workers to appropriate the PDL, the Wages Commissions created a less predictable and more fluid dynamic between employers and employees in the months leading up to the landmark 1973 Durban strikes. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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