The rise of the Trade Union Bureaucracy - Labour's enemy within

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As the South African experience shows, the development of a labour aristocracy threatens to drive a wedge between the worker and the union, warns unionist EDWARD TSWAIPE

One of the distinguishing factors in the contemporary development of organised labour has been the rise of a social layer within the ranks of the trade union movement with a contradictory socio-economic status, ideology and agenda.It has been termed the "Trade Union Bureaucracy" by several writers, notably Alex Calinicos and Dan Gallin.

This class within-a-class has also been termed a 'labour aristocracy' in some quarters, owing to the authority and control it wields over the rest of the workers. Hence, the term 'union bosses', which is a usage by the liberal media.'Labour aristocracy' and 'labour aristocrats' has been used more broadly by others, to refer to a privileged or elitist sub class among the working population, to distinguish it from the institutional formation of trade unions.In Botswana the latter usage is popularly associated with prominent sociologist, Professor Monageng Mogalakwe.

Editor's Comment
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