chapter  9
12 Pages

The Congress of South African Trade Unions and Free Trade: Obstacles to Transnational Solidarity

WithStephen R. Hurt

ABSTRACT This article considers the response of the largest trade union federation in South

Africa, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), to an extended free trade

agenda, which has formed a key part of neoliberal restructuring during recent decades. It

focuses in particular on South Africa’s position in multilateral trade talks and its negotiation

of three Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). COSATU’s critique of these FTAs is considered and

in particular the analysis focuses on its attempts at building transnational solidarity with

other national labour movements. It argues that despite COSATU’s opposition to trade

liberalisation there are a number of obstacles to developing effective international links.