Eastern Cape Socio-Economic Consultative Council

Latest Webinar: Industrial Action in South Africa - Reading strike statistics qualitatively

Published: August 26, 2022

The talk was based on recent work to be published by the speaker in the Global Labor Journal, which analyzes strike statistics over the last twenty years in South Africa to have a concrete understanding of the state of labour (organized and unorganized). An important aspect of the paper is to show how one can use the quantitative method to assist in reading the qualitative aspects of worker mobilization, an aspect which is markedly absent from contemporary analysis of labour. By utilizing the quantitative method, the article will show whether the labour movement as an agent of social change is withering away; who the leading sections (per industrial sector) of the labour movement are and the shifts over time; including the relative performance of blue-collar workers to white collar workers. The trends over the last twenty years indicate that there has been a demonstrable qualitative shift in strike dynamics in South Africa. Dr. Eddie Cottle gave a presentation at the webinar which was facilitated by ECSECC Planning Data Specialist Barry Morkel. Present at the webinar were academics and provincial leadership of Cosatu, Nehawu, Popcru, Samwu and PSA.

ABOUT SPEAKER: Eddie Cottle is a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Sociological Research and Practice (CSRP) at the University of Johannesburg. He is a former trade unionist and was the policy and campaign officer for Building and Wood Workers International (BWI), Africa and Middle East office. He also served as head of collective bargaining support at the Labour Research Service (LRS) in Cape Town. He is a senior researcher in the field of Labour Studies with a scholarly focus on the theorization of labour strikes, an under-researched area globally in the labour studies field. He is particularly interested in strike theory, labour history, strike statistics and comparative studies in social conflict. In respect of his contribution to scholarly and policy-influencing labour research he was a contributor to the South African Labour Bulletin since 1999 and is currently a reviewer for the Global Labour Journal and Brazilian Journal of Social and Labour Economics. Since 2007 he contributed to the Labour Research Service (LRS) annual omnibus book, Bargaining Indicators, he was also contracted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Africa Office to write the popular book, Towards a South African National Minimum Wage, which was widely used in the labour movement in preparations for the negotiations on a national minimum wage with government. He is the editor of the book, South Africa's World Cup: A legacy for Whom?

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