Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Anastasiya Ryabchuk on the unmet need for worker centres in South Africa

Anastasiya Ryabchuk. 2017. "The unmet need for worker centres in South Africa: results of community advice office survey", South African Review of Sociology 48(1): 100-114.

Abstract: This article analyses the assistance that is offered to workers on labour-related problems by South African community advice offices. A telephone survey of 129 community advice offices was conducted under the supervision of the author by two interns of the Chris Hani Institute (CHI), followed by five more detailed follow-up interviews with offices where more than 90% of the cases were labour-related. The article presents the findings of the telephone survey on questions, such as: most common workplace-related issues that offices deal with; other types of work beyond offering legal advice (other types of services, advocacy, organising); building workers' power through more long-term engagement; and relationship with trade unions. The literature review, combined with the survey findings, led the author to conclude that today South Africa's community advice offices are only at the beginning stages of realising the need for assisting workers, with a focus primarily on offering advice, thus neglecting the advocacy and organising components, that is widespread in worker advice centres in North America and that was common in South Africa's past.