Centre for Labour Education and Organising

About the Programme: 

The Centre for Labour Education and Organising (CLEO) is working on two projects: The Farmworker Network Project and the Vulnerable Workers Project.

One of the key challenges facing civil society organisations in the post-apartheid period has been the growing informalisation of work, and the way this has contributed to deepening poverty and inequality. The primary aim of the Centre is to develop an understanding of the processes currently under way in the world of work, and to provide support for the numerous initiatives aimed at organising workers.


This support takes the form of education and awareness raising, assistance with organising initiatives, research and publications. While still continuing with support for traditional trade unions, the Centre focuses on supporting new forms of organising, especially among atypical and vulnerable workers.

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SAFWN Sugar Bulletin:Issue No 2

In this edition we profile sugar workers in Mauritius based on our recent visit. The union membership has suffered as machines have replaced workers and work is restructured. We also discuss the plight of women workers in the sugar fields. Now, employers refuse to bargain at national level preferring to divide workers

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Newsletter for SAFWN

Welcome to the forth edition of the Sugar Bulletin. This edition covers the activists school that was held in Sweden. Swaziland and Malawi with so much problems recently made a wise decision that the representatives of SAFWN came for the school from these countries. We also look at the much important exchange visit between Swaziland and Mauritius, while we end by the visit to SINTIA in Mozambique.


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A Escola Anual do Inverno teve lugar no Khanya College de 28 de julho de 2011 a 7 de agosto de 2011. Alguns dos convidados para virem à Escola, foram os do Network dos Trabalhadores de Fazendas da África Austral. Quem deu a aula foi o Shawn Hatting do Grupo de Pesquisa Trabalho e de Informação
Internacional (ILRIG).
Ponderações na aula começaram por identificar problemas diários comuns que os trabalhadores de fazendas têm. Durante as ponderações na aula, notou-se que além dos muitos problemas dos trabalhadores de fazendas, havia quatro problemas muito importantes. Estes quarto foram considerados
como sendo a causa dos outros problemas graves no setor.


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Class Report:Farm Workers

Khanya College held its annual Winter School from the 28th of July 2011 to the 7th of August 2011. Among those invited to the School; were Southern African Farm Workers Network. The class was facilitated by Shawn Hatting from International Labour Research and Information Group (ILRIG).

Class deliberations departed from the identification of com- mon problems confronted by farm workers on their daily basis. As class deliberations unfolded, it became apparent that amongst many problems raised as facing farm workers, there were four noteworthy and most significant ones pointed out. These were adhered to as the root cause of all other problems prominent in the sector.


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Farmworkers Network Project

 Sikhula SonkeFarm workers are the most numerous of all workers in the Southern Africa region but also the most marginalised and exploited. Agricultural restructuring under globalization has worsened the position of farm workers, leading to mass evictions, lowering of wages, employment conditions and increased use of more casual, seasonal and labour broker workers. Women constitute just under half of all farm workers and invariably make up the majority of the most vulnerable workers.


Farm worker unions reflect and perpetuate the position of the workers through their weakness. The Southern Africa regional farm worker network was formed in 2004 in an attempt to strengthen farm worker organisations in the region.

The objectives of the Project are to:

  1. Improve the quality of life of farm workers in the Southern Africa region;
  2. Strengthen farm worker organizations in the network through
  3. Sharing experience;
  4. Jointly searching for solutions to the many challenges facing farm worker organizations;
  5. Sharing resources, and testing out possibilities for regional solidarity in a context of growing regional economic integration.

Khanya College acts as the secretariat to the network, co-ordinating all its activities.

The activities:

  • Regional farm worker sector workshops and meetings
  • Networking activities and conferences of matters related to farm worker and rural issues
  • Publications including newsletters, posters and flyers, educational booklets and audio-visual materials
  • Exchange programmes among the various organisations to promote learning and exchange of experiences
  • Campaign support activities, advocacy and lobbying
  • Research into appropriate organising and bargaining strategies
  • Networking and participation in the Southern Africa Social Forum
  • A focus on women and youth in all these activities
  • Infrastructure development of network partners
  • Concrete solidarity
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