Metal that Will not Bend Cover

Metal that Will not Bend

The National Union Of Metalworkers Of South Africa, 1980-1995

576 pages

October, 2011

ISBN: 9781868145348



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Kally Forrest is Senior Researcher in the Society, Work & Development Institute (SWOP) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and was previously Editor of the South African Labour Bulletin

A history of the internal labour movement in South Africa
In the 1980s there was a surge of trade union power in South Africa. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) was prominent and innovative in this assertion of muscle. Metal that does not Bend traces Numsa's accumulation, from a few small unions in a handful of factories to the staging of national strikes involving thousands of workers in auto and engineering. It examines how the union used its influence in macroeconomic and political arenas. Numsa was Cosatu's most radical socialist affiliate, and the book explores its attempts to implement its vision. Historians have framed apartheid's downfall as resulting from the activities of the exiled liberation movement, global anti-apartheid boycott strategies and internal township insurrection. This book reasserts the critical role of the internal labour movement.