A history of garment and tailoring workers in Cape Town, 1900-1939.

 

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dc.contributor.advisor Phimister, IR en_ZA
dc.contributor.advisor Kaplan, David en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Nicol, Martin en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2014-12-30T19:46:16Z
dc.date.available 2014-12-30T19:46:16Z
dc.date.issued 1984 en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Nicol, M. 1984. A history of garment and tailoring workers in Cape Town, 1900-1939. University of Cape Town. en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/10613
dc.description Bibliography: leaves 411-427. en_ZA
dc.description.abstract The large scale production of clothing started relatively late in South Africa because of the inability of local manufacturers to compete with cheap imports. The industry's tendency to draw the most exploitable workers into a system of "sweated labour" emerged clearly during World War I, when military uniforms were produced in Cape Town under appalling conditions. But the clothing industry did not become firmly established until after 1925 when a protective tariff was imposed on clothing imports. Industrial laws then assisted to ensure that South African clothing production was based on factories not outwork and that the extremes of sweating were prevented from establishing a hold on the trade. From 1925 to 1939 the Cape Town clothing industry grew impressively. The foundations were laid for the rapid expansion of the industry after 1939 and for the emergence of the clothing industry as the leading employer of labour in Cape Town and of the Western Cape as the leading centre of clothing manufacturing in South Africa. Garment workers in Cape Town have a history starkly different from that of garment workers in the Transvaal. While the latter were strongly organized into a successful, militant union (under the leadership of E.S. Sachs) and were a leading force in economic and political battles in the Transvaal, the former were press-ganged into membership of an employer-sympathetic union created by Robert Stuart of the Cape Federation of Labour Unions. While the Garment Workers' Union of the Cape Peninsula maintained a strict non-racialism at all times, the Transvaal union excluded African workers and organized coloured workers into a separate branch. While very few Cape garment workers were ever involved in strikes and the Cape Union never once called a strike, the Transvaal garment workers participated in two union-called general strikes and in over one hundred more limited strike actions. Cape garment workers' wages were between ten and forty per cent below those in the Transvaal. The distinctiveness of the Cape garment workers' history derives from the peculiarities of the class struggle in Cape Town. The slow growth of the city over 250 years; its economic base in commerce rather than in the exploitation of natural resources; the relative backwardness of Cape Town capitalism - with a dominant merchant class challenging the development of precarious manufacturing enterprises which operated in a highly competitive environment and remained almost entirely confined to consumer goods production; and the absence of primary racial division in the working class, all contributed to a process of class struggle that was more muted than that in the North. Cape Town was infertile ground for the growth of an organized working class movement. Apart from sporadic but intense worker action briefly after World War I, few workers were drawn into either trade union or political organization. On the other hand, Cape manufacturers, despite their differences, were united in the Cape Chamber of Industries (by W.J. Laite) to promote protection for their industries and to build a cornmon front to resist labour initiatives and government interference. en_ZA
dc.language.iso eng en_ZA
dc.subject.other Economics en_ZA
dc.title A history of garment and tailoring workers in Cape Town, 1900-1939. en_ZA
dc.type Doctoral Thesis
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Thesis en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Commerce en_ZA
dc.publisher.department School of Economics en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationlevel Doctoral
dc.type.qualificationname Ph D en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image
dc.identifier.apacitation Nicol, M. (1984). <i>A history of garment and tailoring workers in Cape Town, 1900-1939</i>. (Thesis). University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Commerce ,School of Economics. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/11427/10613 en_ZA
dc.identifier.chicagocitation Nicol, Martin. <i>"A history of garment and tailoring workers in Cape Town, 1900-1939."</i> Thesis., University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Commerce ,School of Economics, 1984. http://hdl.handle.net/11427/10613 en_ZA
dc.identifier.vancouvercitation Nicol M. A history of garment and tailoring workers in Cape Town, 1900-1939. [Thesis]. University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Commerce ,School of Economics, 1984 [cited yyyy month dd]. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/11427/10613 en_ZA
dc.identifier.ris TY - Thesis / Dissertation AU - Nicol, Martin AB - The large scale production of clothing started relatively late in South Africa because of the inability of local manufacturers to compete with cheap imports. The industry's tendency to draw the most exploitable workers into a system of "sweated labour" emerged clearly during World War I, when military uniforms were produced in Cape Town under appalling conditions. But the clothing industry did not become firmly established until after 1925 when a protective tariff was imposed on clothing imports. Industrial laws then assisted to ensure that South African clothing production was based on factories not outwork and that the extremes of sweating were prevented from establishing a hold on the trade. From 1925 to 1939 the Cape Town clothing industry grew impressively. The foundations were laid for the rapid expansion of the industry after 1939 and for the emergence of the clothing industry as the leading employer of labour in Cape Town and of the Western Cape as the leading centre of clothing manufacturing in South Africa. Garment workers in Cape Town have a history starkly different from that of garment workers in the Transvaal. While the latter were strongly organized into a successful, militant union (under the leadership of E.S. Sachs) and were a leading force in economic and political battles in the Transvaal, the former were press-ganged into membership of an employer-sympathetic union created by Robert Stuart of the Cape Federation of Labour Unions. While the Garment Workers' Union of the Cape Peninsula maintained a strict non-racialism at all times, the Transvaal union excluded African workers and organized coloured workers into a separate branch. While very few Cape garment workers were ever involved in strikes and the Cape Union never once called a strike, the Transvaal garment workers participated in two union-called general strikes and in over one hundred more limited strike actions. Cape garment workers' wages were between ten and forty per cent below those in the Transvaal. The distinctiveness of the Cape garment workers' history derives from the peculiarities of the class struggle in Cape Town. The slow growth of the city over 250 years; its economic base in commerce rather than in the exploitation of natural resources; the relative backwardness of Cape Town capitalism - with a dominant merchant class challenging the development of precarious manufacturing enterprises which operated in a highly competitive environment and remained almost entirely confined to consumer goods production; and the absence of primary racial division in the working class, all contributed to a process of class struggle that was more muted than that in the North. Cape Town was infertile ground for the growth of an organized working class movement. Apart from sporadic but intense worker action briefly after World War I, few workers were drawn into either trade union or political organization. On the other hand, Cape manufacturers, despite their differences, were united in the Cape Chamber of Industries (by W.J. Laite) to promote protection for their industries and to build a cornmon front to resist labour initiatives and government interference. DA - 1984 DB - OpenUCT DP - University of Cape Town LK - https://open.uct.ac.za PB - University of Cape Town PY - 1984 T1 - A history of garment and tailoring workers in Cape Town, 1900-1939 TI - A history of garment and tailoring workers in Cape Town, 1900-1939 UR - http://hdl.handle.net/11427/10613 ER - en_ZA


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