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Wed 18 March
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    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Thu 19 March
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    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Fri 20 March
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    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Sat 21 March
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    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.00 - 17.00

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Wednesday 18 March 2020 14.00 - 16.00
K-3 AFR01 Labour Movements and Workers Organisations: Historical Trajectories and Current Challenges in and from the Global South I
Johan Huizinga, 026
Network: Africa Chair: Peyman Jafari
Organizer: Stefano Bellucci Discussants: -
Samuel Andreas Admasie : Workers’ Agency and Wages in Ethiopia
While developmental projects have been espoused by all Ethiopian governments throughout the last half-century and more, the role and position of labour within this project has been the subject of sharp revisions. In recent times, both the position of labour and the agency of workers in shaping the developmental project ... (Show more)
While developmental projects have been espoused by all Ethiopian governments throughout the last half-century and more, the role and position of labour within this project has been the subject of sharp revisions. In recent times, both the position of labour and the agency of workers in shaping the developmental project has been reduced to that of a mere factor of production. In academia too, most of what recent attention to labour that has been forthcoming has been focused on productivity levels. By measuring the effect that workers’ struggles have had on the position of Ethiopian labour, this paper aims to reframe a discussion on the agency of workers in shaping the political economy and its own position within it.
The paper aims to interrogate the relationship between the agency of Ethiopian wage workers - exercised through the labour movement, and conditioned by its strategic orientation - and the shifting position of labour within the Ethiopian political economy over the past half-century. The paper will zoom in on a number of recent strikes in the industrial belt in the outskirts of Addis Ababa in order to examine the manner in which particular strikes emerge and are resolved, and the impact of such particularities on the aggregate wage movement. (Show less)

Stefano Bellucci : Facing Decent Work: African Regional and International Labour Organisations
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Francesca Congiu : Made in Taiwan: Trade Unions Organisation and Politics in the Global Factory
In Taiwan, in the aftermath of the lifting of martial law in 1987, there was an emergence of organized labour protests and the formation of new and autonomous labour organizations. The labour movement developed as part of a broader anti-authoritarian movement. The main research question at the basis of the ... (Show more)
In Taiwan, in the aftermath of the lifting of martial law in 1987, there was an emergence of organized labour protests and the formation of new and autonomous labour organizations. The labour movement developed as part of a broader anti-authoritarian movement. The main research question at the basis of the paper derives from a preliminary reflection on the encouraging premises of the Taiwanese labour movement – driven as it was by the goals of political and social emancipation of workers from a repressive and authoritarian single-party regime – and the following disappointing outcomes. Thus, the research has intended to investigate the major limitations and setbacks encountered by the organized labour movement and to find out the major socio-political historical reasons behind these limitations. Throughout the application of Gramsci’s concepts of Integral State and Passive Revolution, the paper will argue that in the eighties, the failure of the workers’ movement can be considered as the outcome of a passive revolution that has seen the emergence of a neoliberal state and of a new historical bloc with specific ethnic and political characteristics, in defense of capitalism expansion. The research examines cross-checked materials coming from several primary sources which were integrated with open interviews with some of the 1980s labour activists who currently belong to the major non-governmental labour organizations (Taiwan Labour Front – TLF; Labour Rights Association – LRA). The documents consulted included Yearbooks of Labour Statistics, official and unofficial trade union reports, labour activists’ personal accounts and analyses of the movement, political leaders’ public speeches, as well as election data and labour legislation. (Show less)

Sarah Kunkel : Modernising the Village: Decolonisation and Mechanisation in Ghana under Nkrumah
After the successful fight for political independence, Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, mobilised the young nation to fight for economic independence through industrialisation. The Volta River Dam and Tema Port were the biggest projects and soon became symbols of Ghana’s development. However, modernisation and mechanisation did not only take place ... (Show more)
After the successful fight for political independence, Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, mobilised the young nation to fight for economic independence through industrialisation. The Volta River Dam and Tema Port were the biggest projects and soon became symbols of Ghana’s development. However, modernisation and mechanisation did not only take place in urban industrial areas. Nkrumah also had a strong focus on modernising agricultural production and introduced large-scale farms in rural areas in the 1960s that made use of scientific and mechanised methods. This agricultural development brought modernisation to rural areas. State farms and cooperatives transformed peasant farmers into agricultural workers and created opportunities for illiterate people in semi-skilled or skilled positions.
This paper explores the social and cultural impact of agricultural mechanisation. How did the mechanisation of agriculture change the meaning and image of farming in rural communities? The profession of tractor driver is particularly interesting in this respect. What did it mean for men and women to be tractor drivers?
The mechanisation of agriculture also occurred during non-alignment, and Nkrumah collaborated with the West and the East, bringing experts and technology in from both. Yet, most agricultural experts working on the farms came from the East, leading to a shift from a colonial to a more socialist mentality in rural areas, which reshaped the experience of the population with foreigners.
The paper is based on archival sources, newspapers and journals, as well as oral history, and will contribute new insights into the postcolonial history of Ghana and its agriculture besides cocoa farming. (Show less)

Lucas Poy : 130 Years of Labor Movement in Argentina. A General Overview and a Discussion of Recent Historiographical Developments
2020 marks the 130th anniversary of the first celebration of the International Workers’ Day, on May 1, 1890. On that day, following the call of the international congress that had assembled in Paris the year before, some hundreds of workers met in downtown Buenos Aires to demand the 8-hour workday, ... (Show more)
2020 marks the 130th anniversary of the first celebration of the International Workers’ Day, on May 1, 1890. On that day, following the call of the international congress that had assembled in Paris the year before, some hundreds of workers met in downtown Buenos Aires to demand the 8-hour workday, to show their solidarity with their fellow workers of the whole world, and also to express the demands of the local working class. Although there are many important reasons to stress the importance of developments that had taken place in previous years and even decades, the date is still considered by many, and not without reason, as the starting point of the Argentine labor movement.
Indeed, Argentina has a very long history of labor activism and trade union activity. Since the last decades of the 19th century labor struggles held a prominent place in the local scene and, therefore, the labor movement played a key role in the country's political, social and economic history. Of course it underwent many different stages and phases, from the anarchist-oriented FORA of the early 1900s to the heavily bureaucratic unions of today—over all these years, many different political currents fought for the leadership of the movement, many organizational structures emerged and disappeared, many bloody dictatorships attempted, without success, to crush working class organizations.
This history has been addressed by a rich historiography, drawing upon different perspectives and approaches. The last 20 twenty years, in particular, experienced an important development in the field of labor historiography, that enriched our knowledge of the history of the country's working class. The goal of this paper is to survey recent historiographical contributions in order to provide a panoramic view of Argentina's trade union activities over more than a hundred years. It is intended as a synthesis for labor historians not so acquainted with the history of Argentine labor movement, and seeks to promote a dialogue with other colleagues from the Global South. (Show less)



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