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Global transformation of the contemporary labour market for merchant navy seafarers: case studies of Filipino, South African and British seafaring labour markets.

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The central aim of this thesis is to investigate how and why labour markets are formed in specific ways under contemporary global capitalism. This thesis achieves this through a sociological analysis and explanatory account of the contemporary transformation of merchant navy seafaring labour markets for Filipino, South African and British seafarers. The study is centrally concerned with four questions relating to the restructuring of these labour markets. These questions are: 1. How has the labour market for seafarers been reshaped? 2. How has the restructuring of shipping capital facilitated this process process? 3. What has the role of labour been in this restructuring process? 4. What other labour market institutions contribute to this restructuring? Answering these four questions allows me to achieve the central aim of my thesis which is to investigate how and why labour markets are formed in specific ways under contemporary global capitalism. In answering these questions this thesis makes three theoretical interventions in industrial sociology. Firstly, this work offers a substantially different account of labour markets that advances a more fully social explanation of labour market formation that does not consider the social as a 'factor' or an 'add on' as does classical and neo classical economics (and some strands of economic sociology) but a significant shaper of global labour markets. Secondly, it fills a gap in theorising the agency of organised labour under global capitalism. The thesis demonstrated how the agency of organised labour and the importance of locality or place should also be accorded primacy in arguing how labour markets are produced. Thirdly in making my own assertions about the creation and decimation of working classes under capitalism, I draw on three detailed case studies of seafaring trade unions, capitalist and state strategies in the shaping and transformation of contemporary labour markets for seafarers and therefore demonstrate the fallibility of the 'race to the bottom' thesis using contemporary research and data.


Thesis (Ph.D.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, 2008.


Merchant mariners., Labour markets., Theses--Industrial, organisational and labour studies.