1973 Durban Strikes

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Laying the foundations for the new unions

The 1973 strikes added momentum to organising work at Bolton Hall. The formation of a number of worker organisations and new unions, although initially dependent on the support of the Bolton Hall registered unions, were not formed as parallel unions.

Their employment of white ‘students’ and ex-SACTU unionists as officials, and a focus from the outset on principles of union democracy and the ideal of power ultimately being in the hands of workers, were an anathema to TUCSA.

Following the strikes, workers flocked to sign up with the Benefit Fund. Membership grew from two-thousand before the strikes, to ten-thousand by the end of 1973.

Realising the need for co-ordinated and effective administration for the Benefit Fund, the Central Administration Services (CAS) was formed. Its objective was to provide clerical and organisational administration to the smaller worker organisations.

The Institute for Industrial Education (IIE) was set up soon after CAS. Its aim was to provide much needed education to workers. 

Last updated : 04-Feb-2014

This article was produced for South African History Online on 04-Feb-2014