Amalgamated Union of Building Trade Workers of South Africa

The Amalgamated Union of Building Trade Workers of South Africa (AUBTWSA) is a trade union representing workers in the construction industry in South Africa.

The union was founded in 1916 as the Building Workers' Industrial Union (BWIU), with the aim of uniting all construction workers in the country. The Operative Bricklayers' Society merged in, and its former chair, Jimmy Briggs, became the union's first chairman. By 1926, it had 2,000 members, mostly in Transvaal and Natal.[1]

The union grew steadily, and by 1946 its membership was 8,327, about half in Transvaal. At this time, its branches in Transvaal and the Orange Free State only accepted white workers, while those in Natal and the Cape also accepted "coloured" and Indian workers. While many of its white members objected to admitting any non-whites, motions to expel them were consistently defeated.[2]

In its early years, the union's leadership was predominantly left-wing. C. B. Tyler, general secretary from 1923 to 1946, was a communist. The membership of the executive moved to the right through the 1930s and 1940s. It remained predominately English-speaking, with the leading Afrikaner member being the communist national organiser Piet Huyser. Far right Afrikaner groups attempted to win the union to their point of view, but were unsuccessful.[2]

At the end of the 1940s, the union merged with the Amalgamated Bricklayers' Trade Union of South Africa, and in 1951 it renamed itself as the "Amalgamated Union of Building Trade Workers of South Africa".[2] In 1972, it absorbed the Coloured, Malay and Asiatic Building Workers' Union, followed in 1980 by the majority of the Amalgamated Society of Woodworkers of South Africa. This took its membership up to 19,000.[3] In 1991, it was a founding affiliate of the short-lived Federation of Independent Trade Unions.[4] The union was still in existence in 2017.[5]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Gitsham, Ernest; Trembath, James H. (1926). A first account of labour organisation in South Africa (PDF). Durban: E. P. & Commercial Printing. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Touyz, Brian Martin (1982). WHITE LABOUR AND THE 'SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC' MOVEMENT IN THE TRANSVAAL; THE SOUTH AFRICAN LABOUR PARTY, THE SOUTH AFRICAN TRADES AND LABOUR COUNCIL AND THEIR TRADE UNION AFFILIATES, 1930 - 1954 (PDF). Cape Town: University of Cape Town. p. 249. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  3. ^ Miller, Shirley (1982). Trade Unions in South Africa 1970-1980: a directory and statistics. Cape Town: Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit. ISBN 0799204692.
  4. ^ Murray, Martin J. (1994). Revolution Deferred. Verso. ISBN 9780860915775.
  5. ^ "REGISTERED TRADE UNIONS IN SOUTH AFRICA For 31 May 2017". Labour Guide. Retrieved 14 April 2021.