Unions Vs. Small Business in Africa

This article, put up on the news website allAfrica.com, is written by Chris Nwachuku of the Lagos, Nigerian newspaper This Day.

According to the article, the Nigerian government was attempting to craft new labor laws that would ease restrictions on small and "micro-businesses" regarding pro-labor union regulations. That country's union forces have opposed such laws. Now the pro-Marxist ANC government of South Africa and the authoritarian government of Djibouti wish to do likewise.

The pro-Marxist Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), which - according to the article - was instrumental in stopping the Nigerian bill now wants to stop the similar measure in South Africa. COSATU holds that this package of laws for small and micro-businesses would "be a threat to workers' rights" and a return to "sweatshop conditions" for them.

Union activists in Djibouti believe such similar laws for their country would set the labor movement there back a century. Even the right to collective barganing and organizing is being called into question. According to the article, the current code has been in force since 1952, when the French ran the nation as one of it's colonies. The government didn't help matters any when, in 1999, it set up two "dummy unions" to rivals the small nation's two independent unions. Representatives of the these two "dummy unions" are sent overseas to fool other international labor representatives.

For further background about COSATU, her ties with the Communists, and her role in South Africa's labor unions, visit this article written by Geoffrey Wood for the "History Cooperative" website.

COSATU has, since its 1997 Congress, grown closer with the South African Communist Party. Along with the ANC, COSATU and the SACP formed the "Tripartite Alliance", which is helping to push that country further into tyranny. However, since the ANC is trying to liberalize it's stance on business and world trade, both COSATU and the SACP have been distancing themselves from the ANC on certain matters.

From a Distributist stance, the South African and Djibouti situations are quite complex from a first glance, at least. The labor unions' stance in both countries against lifting burdens on small and micro-businesses - those with ten or less employees, like a lot of "mom-and-pop" businesses in the US and Canada - looks paranoid from the outset. But given the current neo-Marxist or global socialist flavor of these unions and their leadership, as well as their history in their lands, one should not be surprised.

However, using the Mondragon and Antigonish Movements as good examples, said small and micro-businesses should be encouraged to be worker-owned and managed from the outset. Or else they should be encouraged to organize themselves on a Mondragon-style basis, to get both the neo-Marxist tyrants and COSATU off their case. With high unemployment in their lands, the need for building up the local and neighborhood economies is important. Combined with a rejections of Marxism and monopoly capitalism, as well as a social policy that rejects both pro-UN globalism and the Sexual Revolution, South Africa and Djibouti should begin to get back on their feet.


TS Sunday, October 2, 2005 at 9:55:00 AM CDT  

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