Social concertation, labour unions and the creation of a black bourgeoisie in South Africa

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In South Africa, one of organised labour's most revolutionary responses to globalisation and an emerging social concertation regime is the frenzied establishment of union-owned investment companies by almost all black-majority labour unions. Labour's resort to wealth accumulation, encouraged and facilitated by the state and segments of corporate South Africa, threatens to transform workers into both labour and capital, employees and employers. An evaluation of the fields of accumulation of these union investment companies shows their limited potential to advance the government's goal of creating a black capitalist class. However, a 'concertation regime' that gives organised labour a significant material stake in the economy has the potential to enhance cross-class compromises that are necessary for the consolidation of democracy in post-apartheid South Africa. Labour's wealth accumulation endeavour is shown to have contributed to the adoption (by labour leaders) of innovative industrial relations and handling of recent strikes and strains in labour's relations with the government.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-85
Number of pages39
JournalJournal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

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