Unresolved problems in South African mining, particularly on gold mines, are enmeshed within the system of production through mining methods and labour practices entrenched by apartheid. This system sets the parameters for, and hence limits and constrains, strategies designed to improve occupational health and safety. This chapter explores the achievements and limitations of statutory tripartism in mining as practiced under the Mine Health and Safety Act (mhsa), in the context of social dialogue in the National Economic and Labour Council (nedlac) and other statutory and non-statutory tripartite forums. The term statutory tripartism refers to the institutions and forums for social dialogue established in law. Non-statutory tripartism refers to ad hoc forums in which stakeholders deliberate on specific issues. Presented as a detailed case study in which issues are explored thematically, the chapter benefits from the experience of the lead authors in statutory mine health and safety structures. The authors reflect on the International Labour Organization’s (ilo) role to date and its future role, at a time when prospects for a broad social compact remain out of reach. While key discussions often take place outside of formally established tripartite structures, the ilo’s vision of authoritative social compacts and its institutional forms find expression in many settings. The ilo was important at critical junctures in the past and a continued role in championing social protection, inclusion and dialogue is foreseen. South Africans themselves must, however, find agreement on how best to address systemic issues. The practice of tripartism remains relevant to creating an inclusive and more equal society.
For a coherent framework for understanding the future of work, there is a need to unify theories on the role of digitisation in any potential job losses. Is it possible that digitisation not only achieves efficiencies but also retains or creates jobs in selected sectors of African economies? With Africa’s population expected to reach 2 billion by 2050, can we be content with the fact that the impact of digitisation has been mostly discussed in the context of advanced economies? This chapter explores possible effects of digitisation in three economic sectors of African economies. Based on reviews of library, security, and entertainment sectors in selected countries, we interrogate the validity of the disappearing job theory, which is reinforced by the global digital revolution. This chapter is intended to fuel the ongoing discussions about the future of jobs in Africa and the role the International Labour Organization (ilo) might play in sustaining African jobs. Since digitisation in Africa has not yet reached the same level as the developed world, its impact is mostly positive in the selected sectors. However, there is a need to manage any unintended consequences of the emerging digitised workplace. Possible interventions by the ilo and support for Africa’s ability to cope with emerging changes are recommended.
Women in agriculture play a particularly important role in the economy. But their work—as peasants and as agricultural wage earners—their knowledge, their place in agricultural systems of production and their contribution to global prosperity have only been recognised in recent years, or still lack significant recognition. With changes in systems of production that are related to globalisation, the marginalisation and the workload of women in agriculture has often increased due to the perpetuation of an unequal sexual division of work in agriculture, and due to unequal access to the workforce and to agricultural inputs, technologies, credit schemes and land. One of the main constraints faced by female peasants and agricultural wage earners is the continuous and increasing reproductive work, which rests disproportionately on the most excluded women.