South Africa Trade UnionsTrade unions in South Africa have played a crucial role in shaping the economic and political environment in the country. An inclusive democratic government could not have been formed without the driving force by trade unions in South Africa. Today, trade unions remain an important force in South Africa. With a large number of South Africans as members, the trade unions have been able to exercise their massive influence on the achievement of a variety of things.

Members of the trade unions in South Africa have also been able to draw a lot of benefits.

Below is a list of the major trade unions in South Africa

The Congress of South Africa Trade Unions (COSATU)

COSATU is the largest trade union in South Africa with over 1.7 million membership and three major trade union centers. Besides, it is also affiliated to the African National Congress (ANC) which is the national ruling party and the South African Communist Party (SACP).

Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA)

CCMA is an independent trade union body that has no connections to any political party in South Africa. The main aim of CCMA is to create and promote a fair working environment of South African workers. Also, it is involved in mediating disputes that arise between workers and employers. This makes CCMA more important for it promotes social justice.

Confederation of South African Workers’ Unions

CONSAWU is one of the South African’s four national trade union centers. It works in close association with the Trade Union Confederation. It was founded in 2003 and currently has closer to 290,000 members and is led by Mr. Joel Mfingwana who is the president of the union.

National Union of Mineworkers

With 300,000 members, it is the largest affiliate of COSATU. It was founded in 1982 by Cyril Ramaphosa, to look after the welfare of black mine workers.

Federation of Union South Africa (FEDUSA)

FEDUSA is the second-largest federation after the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). It was established on April 1997 and attained a membership of over 515,000 with Mr. Godfrey Selamatsela as its president. FEDUSA was established following the merging of the Federation of South African Labour Unions (FEDSAL) and the Federation of Organisations Representing Civil Employees (FORCE). Currently, FEDUSA has over 700, 000 members.


International Confederation of Free  Trade Unions (ICFTU)

ICFTU is one of the trade unions in South Africa which insists on the responsibility of the state and actions between governments for sustainable development. It has aimed at promoting local trade. For instance, in 1959, ICFTU adopted a resolution to boycott South African goods when it called for an end to foreign investment in South Africa.

Other Trade Unions in South Africa

  • Food and Allied Workers Union
  • South Africa Transport and Allied Workers
  • Communication Workers Union

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