Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Anastasiya Ryabchuk on the changing role of worker advice offices in South Africa

Anastasiya Ryabchuk. 2017. "The Changing Role of Worker Advice Offices in South Africa, from 1970s to the Present", South African Journal of Political Studies, published online 31 Jul 2017.

Abstract: This paper explores the history and changing role of worker advice offices between the 1970s and the present. It summarises different aspects and different periods of legal advice office history. In the experience of these offices, we see an experimentation with new forms of worker organisation and sources of power for a workforce facing exclusion and oppression. During the struggle against apartheid, at a time when traditional union activity relied on workers’ structural bargaining power, it was not always a safe option and institutional power was lacking, advice offices contributed to the labour movement by building workers’ associational power and aiming at development of strong trade unions. In post-apartheid South Africa, on the contrary, despite gains in institutional power, labour faces weakening structural and associational power due to challenges of neoliberal globalisation, so worker advice offices have to look for new approaches to help workers defend their labour rights.