Work, Employment and Society



THE END OF APARTHEID AND THE ORGANISATION OF WORK IN MANUFACTURING PLANTS IN SOUTH AFRICA'S EASTERN CAPE PROVINCE


Michael R. Smith a1 and Geoffrey T. Wood a2
a1 Department of Sociology, McGill University, Stephen Leacock Building, 855 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal PQ, CANADA H3A 2T7
a2 Department of Sociology and Industrial Sociology, Rhodes University, PO Box 94, Grahamstown 6140, SOUTH AFRICA

Abstract

The election of 1994 radically changed the environment within which management chose its labour control policies. Prior to the change of government in 1994 plant practices were shaped by the fact of substantial protection against foreign competition, widespread illiteracy, and a set of laws and policies that offered few protections for individual workers or organised labour. Since the change in government the political and legal environment has substantially changed. In this paper we report on management practices before and after the political changes in South Africa in a set of plants in a part of the country where many of the current difficulties of the South African economy exist in a fairly extreme form.

(Accepted December 1997)