Today in Labor History

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Archive for the tag “apartheid”

December 13, 1971

December 13.jpg

In South-West Africa (now Namibia), 6,000 indigenous Ovambos – required under the rule of South Africa’s apartheid government to live in tribal areas in the northern third of the country and required to have passes for movement within the country – begin a general strike to protest the contract labor system. They demanded the right to choose jobs, end contracts, bring families to work locations, a new pass system, and increased wages based on work type, not skin color.

February 13, 1982

Neil Aggett15,000 people attend the funeral of Dr. Neil Aggett, a South African physician and union organizer. Detained by the security police for his anti-apartheid and labor activism, Aggett was held and tortured for 70 days before dying in police custody. Aged 28, he was the only white South African to die in detention under apartheid.

January 9, 1973

20130726_The Municipal Workers on the March in 1973.previewWorkers making a minimum wage considerably lower than the poverty line at the Coronation Brick and Tile factory outside Durban, South Africa, begin what will be a successful strike. Workers in other sectors in the city and beyond followed suit, and by early February, 30,000 South African workers were on strike demanding increased wages and better working conditions.

June 6, 1988


A three-day nationwide general strike involving an estimated 2.5 million people is underway in South Africa, called for by unions and anti-apartheid groups in opposition to the apartheid government’s two-year old state of emergency and proposed legislation that would restrict the right to strike. 

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