Mutema, Zedias (2015) Assessing the changing relationship between trade unions and the state: a historical analysis of union/state relations in Zimbabwe. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Drawing on semi-structured interviews and published documents, this thesis examines the changing union-state relationship in Zimbabwe. Unlike many existing work on the subject, this thesis is a holistic analysis in that it considers the views of the government officials, International Labour Organization (ILO) officials, Business Executives and trade unionists.

An in-depth empirical study revealed that union-state relations in Zimbabwe are complex, unpredictable and can only be fully understood by fully understanding, acknowledging, and appreciating the local and international relations context at play. The conclusion challenges the established view which sought to focus on shop floor issues as key determinants of union-state relations. International political pressures and dynamics which are often selectively ignored do have a direct impact on union-state relations in postcolonial Africa. When the views of a single actor are only considered or examined, partial understanding of the relationship results, a problem that has characterised several previous works on the subject.

The thesis contributes to existing related literature on union-party relations in Zimbabwe and Africa in general. Theoretically, it challenges the applicability to the Zimbabwean situation, of existing theoretical frameworks and typologies of union-party/union-state relations. The civil society narrative and national liberation narratives are the competing frameworks used by unions and the state to define their flagship and shape employment relations in contemporary Zimbabwe. One needs to examine the conflict generation systems, in particular, evaluating the extent to which they provide incentives to key actors on the political and economic front and assess the impact this has on employment relations. Methodologically, this thesis raises the need for a multi-actor’s perspective approach in researching union-state relations. Finally, the thesis points to the need for further research on the changing nature of union-state relations in Zimbabwe in particular and Sub Saharan Africa in general.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT Africa
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Keele Management School
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2017 15:19
Last Modified: 31 Dec 2017 01:30

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