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Doctoral Degrees (Industrial Organization and Labour Studies)

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    Casualisation and trade union survival strategies in the beverage sector of Lagos State, Nigeria.
    (2018) Adewumi, Samson Adeoluwa.; Ogunnubi, Olusola Rasheed.
    The global purpose of work is to promote an ever-improving and sustaining economic outlook, where the working population can be guaranteed fulfilling types of work for the attainment of basic wants and needs. While escalating pressures have been invoked on labour unions for effective strategies and programmes to address the upsurge of poverty amongst the working people, a knowledge gap still exists on the responsiveness of labour unions to employment casualisation. This thesis examines trade union survival strategies to employment casualisation in the Nigerian Beverage sector. Specifically, in a bid to unravel the effectiveness of trade union survival strategies, the study uncovers the different patterns and practices, as well as challenges of employment casualisation. A concurrent mixed method type was employed to gather data. While quantitative data were elicited through stratified sampling from 291 respondents drawn from five Beverage companies in Lagos State, qualitative data were collected through a purposive sampling of 9 respondents of FOBTOB. From the convergence of data, outsourced and contract employment was revealed as the two patterns and practices of temporary employment with a range of challenges. Amongst the four strategic responses of trade union tested with correlation and multiple regression analysis, only trade union leadership activities and education and (re) training programmes were significant to employment casualisation. The integration of data found that the proscription of casual workers from National Bargaining Agreement benefits, and the labour union non-utilization of industrial strikes strategies to subside casualisation, are contraventions of labour legislation. The study further reveals economic constraints; an unpatriotic and divisive labour union; and a lack of political-will; corruption and the ambiguous content of Nigerian labour laws as factors limiting trade union struggles. For a robust labour struggle towards attaining decent work, the study makes a case for the review of Nigeria’s labour laws for best international practices; monitoring functions by the ministry of labour and employment; genuine legislative function on the part of Nigeria’s lawmakers; addressing the challenges of corruption amongst rank and file trade unions; and the need for the establishment of labour training centers in the six geographical zones of the country.
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    Wage income, migrant labour and livelihoods beyond the rural-urban divide in post-apartheid South Africa: a case of Dunlop Durban factory workers.
    (2014) Bhengu, Sithembiso.; Sitas, Aristides.
    This thesis investigates the reproduction of the African working class in post-apartheid South Africa. The research examines the relationship between wage income and the mobilisation of livelihoods of working class households across the rural-urban divide. Through an ethnographic study with Dunlop workers, the research examines rural-urban linkages of African workers, interrogating how these linkages are maintained and how they play out in mobilisation and struggles for livelihoods in everyday life. Based on literature on workers and livelihoods in South Africa, the research hypothesis argues that wage income remains the main pillar and source of the reproduction of life and the mobilisation of livelihoods of working class households, both rural and urban. To interrogate these propositions three areas of evidence needed to be developed into key questions: 1. The centrality of wage labour to the mobilisation of livelihoods in extended familial households across the rural-urban divide. 2. Secondly, establishing the degree of these rural-urban linkages and networks and the form they take. 3. Lastly, working life and struggles, and the everyday life of African workers and their household networks. In answering these questions the thesis explores three major arguments. The first argument is that social reproduction, lives and livelihoods of working class South Africans are organised and reorganised across the rural-urban divide. Wage income remains the most important resource in the production, reproduction of the African working class in post-apartheid South Africa. The thesis argues that Dunlop workers have and continue to service dual (and some instances multiple) familial networks across the rural-urban divide. These familial networks are serviced through visits, remittances, the supporting of adult children to find accommodation in the city when looking for employment and through the performance of traditional rituals. The second key argument is that Dunlop‘s institutional production regimes continue to be organised through what I call a racialised ordering and lack of substantive transformation on the shop floor. These precipitate antagonistic relations between workers and management as well as a militant workforce. As a result, despite the contradictions and contestations noted in the literature about trade unions in post-apartheid South Africa (Buhlungu, 2006, 2010; Social Development, 2004, 2006; Kenny, 2004; Seekings, 2004; Seekings and Nattrass, 2002, 2005), workers continue to identify them as their bona fide voice. Shop floor militancy is constructed by invoking the popular history of trade unions and through shop floor socialisation of younger workers by their older familial networks. The third argument is that workers‘ narratives are complex. The thesis explores Sitas‘ (2004a) assertion that the narratives of workers‘ lives and their struggles are not simple, neat, straightforward and predictable, as generalist theorists would argue. Instead, they are complex and articulated with class, race, gender, rural-urban milieu, culture, struggle, violence and identity-making meaning in everyday life.
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    The process of empowerment of Blacks in affirmative action programmes.
    (1996) Magojo, Thandekile Sylvia.; Sitas, Aristides.
    This research focuses on the experiences of Africans within the management ranks in South African organisations in the private sector. It examines progress (successes and failures) in the implementation of affirmative action programmes. The research further examines power as a concomitant of the managerial role. It argues that the approach that uses the notion of socio-psychological barriers directed to the individual aspirant may be incomplete in explaining lack of mobility if it fails to account for the broader power dynamics and structures within South African organisations. Furthermore, it explores attributes of individual managers as well as those of organisations in order to establish the fit between the individual and the organisation, looks at practices that are often associated with affirmative action programmes and describes empirically the experiences of black managers in such settings. The research concludes that in the absence of programmes that enable aspirant executives to empower themselves psychologically for upward mobility, affirmative action programmes may not be sustainable. The underlying assumption of this research is that the historical legacy which subjected Africans to an official policy of discrimination for decades impeded their upward mobility in the labour market, thus enabling the white labour force to occupy a position of privilege in the private sector. In such settings white managers are confronted with the role of implementing affirmative action programmes which pose a threat to the privileges they have grown accumstomed to. White managers are thus perceived by their black counterparts as reluctant agents of change. The research is guided by the hypotheses that where blacks in managerial positions perceive themselves as being unable to influence organisational decisions, or as having no control over resources, people and information, they would feel that affirmative action is disempowering. To obtain the required information a structured interview schedule with both open ended and closed-ended questions was used. Questions tapped the perceptions of black managers regarding their empowerment in employing organisations. Face-to-face interviews with 100 black managers from the private sector were conducted by the author. The resultant data was captured on a computer data base and then subjected to various forms of statistical analyses. The main predictor of feelings of empowerment was found to be the manager's centrality in decision-making processes. It was also found that positive relationships with superiors and colleagues influenced feelings of empowerment, as did membership of corporate clubs. Job rank was positively related to relationships with superiors and colleagues. It was also found that affirmative action environments presented this group with some contradictions: they advanced much slower than their white colleagues, and supervised largely, or only blacks, and/or are in specialist positions with no budgetary control. Organisational climate factors (negative attitudes and unfair promotional practices) were still perceived to be in place. Educational qualifications were not found to be good predictors of empowerment. The findings suggest that affirmative action programmes need to take the heterogeneity of managers into account. Management must show that managing diversity is crucial to their productivity and competitiveness. It is also important for such programmes to examine the format of corporate clubs, and consider altering them to accommodate the social reality of black managers. Lastly, a fundamental transformation of power relations is necessary so that decision-makers operate from more or less the same level of power.
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    Local economic responses to industrial migration in small towns.
    (2005) Ngcobo, Raymond Mfankhona Bonginkosi.; Sitas, Aristides.
    This thesis examines how globalization poses immediate and long-term challenges and opportunities for small towns and, as a consequence, for local economic development policy. The authors' perspectives raise vital questions about the shape, substance, and function of small towns in an increasingly interdependent and competitive global economy. The thesis provide both retrospective and prospective insights into the ways in which poverty, industrial migration, economic globalization, and technological innovation affect public-sector choices for small towns approaching the turn of a new century. The central theme emerging from this thesis is that the responses of the past will not necessarily provide a path to the future. Cities must innovate and adapt when seeking solutions to problems caused by rapid changes in their environment. Flexibility and creativity are key to designing public policies to deconcentrate poverty, increase opportunity, and furnish a better quality of life. For example, the continuing loss of jobs and population in many large cities can be reversed only with public policies that profit from the emerging global economy. Cities must strategically adapt to the information age by mobilizing public and private resources to be successful in the new, highly competitive economic environment by coming up with new locally designed economic development interventions in what has been termed local economic development (LED). LED in South Africa's small towns will be driven increasingly by forces of global economic interaction in the 21st century. Whereas the export sector is thriving, international trade and investment creating more and better paying jobs for developed, better-prepared regions, South Africa's small towns have yet to adjust quickly to these and other international forces. As they are unable to grow and prosper, and take advantage of global economic benefits, they are currently faced with numerous challenges of improving their local economic system to attract international investment, provide services and infrastructure to support globally competitive firms, and develop stronger entrepreneurial and technological capacity among small and medium-size companies. Local economic development and community action are essential to expanding and modernizing urban and rural infrastructure, strengthening mechanisms of community cooperation within small towns and fostering public-private partnerships to expand opportunities for employment. Demands for integrating the poor into economic activities has proven to be a vital element of local economic development that build on business-oriented approaches to community development. Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative methodologies (triangulation), data was collected within the framework of participatory approach to social enquiry. Findings of this thesis provided a new perspective in dealing with local economic development and market failure. They also show that not all is worse, as community driven and locally designed economic regeneration programmes provide an alternative to global economic growth.