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Cosatu in Crisis: The Fragmentation of an African Trade Union Federation, by Vishwas Satgar & Roger Southall

Cosatu in Crisis: The Fragmentation of an African Trade Union Federation, by Vishwas Satgar & Roger Southall

  • R 25000

With increasing regularity, we come across news headlines about the crisis within Cosatu. Analysts and commentators in the media, in academia, in business and even those in the labour movement itself have already proclaimed the death of Cosatu. Are reports of the imminent demise of Cosatu greatly exaggerated and does this issue concern anyone outside of Cosatu anyway?

Labour is the cornerstone on which our economy is built - we are all directly or indirectly either suppliers of labour or buyers of labour; and as one of the most important labour federations in the world, Cosatu has played a crucial role in forging a rights-based industrial relations system, championing democratisation, and it has been a critical voice for workers. Today, the future of Cosatu is uncertain.

Cosatu in Crisis, with contributions from renowned academics and labour specialists such as Eddie Webster, Mark Orkin, Roger Southall, Vishwas Satgar and Devan Pillay amongst others, puts the current crisis in historical perspective by showing how the unions, the workplace, the economy and broader social movements in South Africa have changed over the past few decades. It also compares the case of Cosatu to that of post-independence union movements across the African continent. The book traces the evolution of the crisis in Cosatu from the advent of democracy in 1994, the development of the fissures between Numsa and Cosatu and how the 'Numsa moment' impacts the future of the Alliance; with the result that it provides a nuanced picture of Cosatu's crisis, the underlying causes and, more generally, the prospects for labour.

Cosatu in Crisis, while not seeking to provide definitive answers, provides crucial perspectives on why organised labour is key to understanding the future of Alliance politics, industrial relations and democracy.

So, what's next for Cosatu? Whatever happens will affect the very foundations of the South African economy. Cosatu in Crisis is a must-read for unionists, business leaders, policy makers and academics - and for anyone interested in knowing how labour will continue to shape the future trajectories of South Africa.

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