Browsing by Author "Wildeman, Russell Andrew"
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- ItemTrade union reaction to privatisation : the case of the congress of South African trade unions(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2000-03) Wildeman, Russell Andrew; Kotze, H. J. K.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences. Dept. of Political Science.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The assignment examines the policy positions of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) on restructuring and privatisation. The assignment's theoretical point of departure is found in the work of Levitsky and Way (1998). Levitsky and Way (1998) examines the alliance between a political party and its labour ally in the context of neo-liberal economic reform. The context is usually a political party that has come to power with the aid of a powerful trade union federation. The authors are interested in establishing if the party-union alliance would be sustained if the political party embarks on drastic economic reforms that have the potential to undermine trade union federations. The two cases that are investigated are Poland and Argentina, because in both these cases, a political party has been swept into power with the aid of a powerful trade union federation. Against the background of neo-liberal economic reforms, both trade union federations initially supported the economic reforms. In the medium and long term however, labour defected from the alliance in Poland, whereas the alliance was sustained in Argentina despite the enormous costs to workers. Levitsky and Way (1998) then posit a number of material and institutional factors that explain both the initial convergence and the later divergence between the two test cases. The factors that are included in this framework are social linkages, party strength, leadership overlap, union competition and the degree of autonomy from either party leadership or the rank-and-file. These factors are hypothesised to explain the policy positions and behaviour of the trade union federation. It is this theoretical framework, which will be tested to establish if the framework permits enough conceptual leverage to explain the past and present policy positions of COSATU on privatisation. These factors have been given prominence because of its actual bearing on the status of the alliance relationship. The present study will therefore be using these factors of the framework, and barring one exception, it will be conceptualised in the same way. The second component of the study is to use the South African National Opinion Leader Survey of 1997/98 to study the actual attitudes and opinions of COSATU leaders on a range of privatisation issues. The survey is going to be used to determine if there is any degree of continuity between formal congress resolutions and the attitudes of COSATU leaders in the survey. This is also an indirect way of verifying the ideological loyalty of leaders to the official positions of the trade union federation. The second question returns to the alliance relationship by examining differences, if any between COSATU and ANC leaders on privatisation related issues. Factor analysis is used to build two indexes, namely a "privatisation index" and a "gear index." An interesting finding from the data is the relatively greater policy cohesion amongst COSATU leaders. These results permit speculations that do not necessarily indicate an imminent breaking up of the alliance, but rather continued discussions with possibly various policy compromises by COSATU and the ANC.