The history of modern black, non-racial trade unions in South Africa is about both a struggle to change workplace conditions and a struggle against white domination. This history of SACCAWU and its predecessor CCAWUSA from 1975 - 2005 traces the details of this impressive struggle. The book draws on trade union documents, newspapers and commentaries of the time to chart this compelling journey. It also gives a voice to many SACCAWU unionists, both past and present, who provide a rich picture of a union that affected the lives of thousands of shop, hotel, restaurant and financial workers. Early struggles to recruit, to win union recognition and the right to bargain, to attain decent work conditions and a living wage are powerfully presented in this book. The book also charts the complex challenges that the union faced in the 1990s and still faces today. It looks critically at how the union has attempted to manage these. It thus provides useful information for all those interested in labour matters to understand the nature of unionism in South Africa today and to develop strategies to take trade union struggles forward.
It is a book rich in both analytic material and fascinating detail, and makes an important contribution to the history of the struggle for freedom in South Africa. It can be seen as a valuable contribution to struggles that shopworkers have waged all over the world to better their condition and to free themselves from exploitation.