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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:A reactive approach to technological changes: solidarity's responses at the ArcelorMittal Vanderbijlpark Plant, 1989 to 2012
Author:Hlatshwayo, Mondli
Year:2014
Periodical:Transformation: Critical Perspectives on Southern Africa (ISSN 0258-7696)
Issue:85
Pages:43-63
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:trade unions
industrial production
technological change
innovations
Abstract:Academic debates about Solidarity's 'reinvention' in a post-apartheid South Africa do not include a discussion on the trade union's responses to technological changes and production. As a contribution to debates on the role of Solidarity in the post-apartheid South Africa, my research was conducted on how Solidarity and its processors at the Vanderbijlpark steel plant responded to technological changes. In-depth interviews, factory visits, and archival sources were the main data sources for the article. The main finding of the article is that Solidarity was unable to respond proactively to technological changes at the plant. In other words, Solidarity's 'reinvention' has not expressed itself in the sphere of production processes and technological changes in the plant. The union left the terrain of production to management, and reacted to the effects of technological changes such as retrenchment long after management had implemented changes in production technologies. The strategy of the union was asymmetrical in the sense that it only focused on wage struggles, and ignored technological changes at the plant. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]
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