Are South African trade unions functioning effectively under the onslaught of globalisation? An empirical and exploratory study

24 Oct 2018

Trade unions all over the world experience problems that emanate from globalisation. The fact that industrialised countries promote free trade is impacting on trade union survival. Owing to tough competition, job security can no longer be assured. The trade union has, therefore, to overcome traditional ideas in order to be relevant in the modern work arena. This demands that trade unions have audits, address shortcomings, be proactive and do the right things. These behaviours are already common to the sophisticated and adaptive trade union, which, inevitably, has a better chance of survival. Globalisation, and specifically trade liberalisation, has not in all ways turned out to be an advantageous phenomenon to all players in the economy. Industrialised nations, which earlier vigorously preached the virtues of free trade, now worry about its vices. Many developing countries feel marginalised in the emerging world economy and wonder whether their fear of free trade has not been justified. Economists are engaged in debates on the ?rights? and ?wrongs? of trade liberalisation and popular opposition to it has grown so much that a crisis of legitimacy looms. This paper will examine the need for the SA trade union movement to align itself with the demands of both its local situation and the global arena.