Power and consensus : an analysis and description of the nature of labour relations, with specific reference to labour disputes and their settlement in South African local authorities

Master Thesis


Permanent link to this Item
Journal Title
Link to Journal
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

University of Cape Town

The aim and intention of this thesis is to critically describe the theoretical and practical applications of labour relations practices in the public sector internationally and in South African local authorities. In particular, this objective involves a description of the following key themes: A background to labour relations theory, the role of parties to the labour relationship, the premises of labour relations, the causes of labour conflict, the processes of dispute resolution and settlement, and applied dispute settlement approaches. A literature survey highlights the key concepts and principle labour conflict resolution measures applied internationally. In South Africa the above-noted labour relations themes are examined by means of a standardised-schedule delphi questionnaire which addresses the approaches adopted and related concerns of all Grade 10-15 local authorities (as in 1992). This thesis highlights the desire to institutionalise labour conflict in. the organisation as a dynamic management concern. Findings indicate that in the public sector internationally labour relations are complicated by a number of unique environments, notably, the political, social, economic, legislative and the organisational environments, within which the organisation must function. Subsequently, applied practices are characterised by restrictive measures which limit the scope of fundamental labour rights, especially the right to associate, the right to bargain and the right to strike. In this context, it is submitted that the use of power-driven processes, as commonly employed by public sector organisations, fail to institutionalise labour conflict effectively. This finding is based on the evidence of increasing labour disputes in this sector since the 1960's.

Includes bibliography.